Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Saturday; Bear’s Affair in the 2.40 at Bangor and Shop Dj ten minutes later at Newbury
The Irish enjoyed a tremendous time of it last week at Cheltenham and this afternoon’s EBF Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Finale can also go their way, with County Kildare trainer Pat Fahey sending Shop Dj (2:50) across the Irish Sea.
The daughter of Dushyantor won a maiden hurdle at Cork in December at the third time of asking and has only been sighted once since, when runner-up to the classy Our Girl Salley in Listed company over Christmas.
The winner won her only subsequent start and would have been fancied to go well in the David Nicholson last week before injury set in, third home Macville had won her previous three starts including a Grade 3 and fourth home For Bill won her next three starts (albeit over fences). All in all that form looks extremely solid.
The six-year-old has clearly been saved for a spring campaign and she could improve significantly now she encounters good ground for the first time over hurdles, as the pick of her bumper form came at the Curragh last May when she won a valuable contest under similar conditions.
Again, she had plenty of winners in behind that day and a mark of 128 may underestimate her ability here. After opening up at 16/1 last night, she has been steadily backed since and trades at a best price 9/1 this morning.
Nicky Henderson holds a strong hand in opposition with four runners and the local trainer, who saddled a double at the track yesterday, could be in a for a good day.
His Kerada looks capable of going close in the novice chase finale, but she has plenty of weight and lost her unbeaten hurdles record on this day last year. She’s also a stone worse off with Asturienne from their meeting earlier in the season, so I’m prepared to pass her by, whilst Kid Cassidy is another Henderson runner to note on the card.
He too must give plenty of weight away and, though he has the ability to be up to the task, he looked a slightly awkward ride last time at Sandown. The first and third from that race have, however, won this week and if back to his best, he’ll take the beating.
If you’re prepared to back ‘shorties’ a better option is the stable’s Bear’s Affair (2:40) at Bangor, as the unbeaten five-year-old is fancied to land what is effectively a match with Our Mick.
The son of Presenting likes good ground and beat the smart Champion Court (winner of a Grade 2 and fourth in the Albert Bartlett last week) in a bumper on debut and had far too much ability for Basford Bob, a winner in the week at Kempton, on his hurdles debut at Southwell in January.
2:40 Bangor-On-Dee: Bear’s Affair (8/13 Sportingbet)
2:50 Newbury: Shop Dj (9/1 Coral)
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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