Paul Ferguson, has three selections for us on Saturday: 1:10 Chepstow: Sam Winner
2:25 Wincanton: The Minack; 2:50 Chepstow: Merehead
Paul Nicholls saddles no fewer than 13 runners this afternoon and I’m taking the Champion Trainer to land a tasty treble.
At his local track, Wincanton, The Minack (2:25) is taken to make a winning debut over fences in the 2m5f Higos Insurance Wells Novices’ Chase.
Despite being by King’s Theatre, the seven-year-old is four from four on soft ground to date (including his point-to-point success) and he also boasts a 100% record when racing right-handed under rules.
Always regarded as a high-class chaser in the making, he can make the perfect start over the larger obstacles.
Nicholls has had a few fancied horses turned over in Chepstow’s Grade 1 Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle in recent seasons, but Sam Winner (1:10) is fancied to break that unfortunate trend today.
Three times a runner-up at Auteuil before joining current connections, he put up the best performance from a juvenile so far this season when making a winning British debut at Cheltenham in November.
He beat subsequent Newbury winner, Grandouet, by 15 lengths that day and, while he was more workmanlike last time, he remains the benchmark four-year-old. He relishes testing ground.
Owner Angela Yeoman could be in for a double at the Welsh track, as her Merehead (2:50) is worth another chance in the Watch UK & Irish Racing at Coral.co.uk Maiden Hurdle.
The grey was disappointing when I put him up to land a bumper here on his reappearance, but he still looked rather green and put up a much improved effort when fourth on his hurdles debut at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting.
The son of Al Namix wasn’t given a hard time that day and the step up in trip ought to bring about further improvement.
1:10 Chepstow: Sam Winner
2:25 Wincanton: The Minack
2:50 Chepstow: Merehead
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase