Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Friday, both at Down Royal; Oscars Well (14.05) and Ipsos Du Berlais (14:35) Compare odds.
The Breeder’s Cup kicks off tonight at Churchill Downs but, with the weather forecast far from clear, it can pay to tread carefully on day one and the pick of the domestic action comes from Down Royal, with the Northern Irish track serving up a cracking card.
The WKD Hurdle is the highlight and at the prices it is worth taking a risk on Oscars Well (2:05) on his first start of the season for Jessie Harrington, who won this race last year and also in 2004 with the high-class Macs Joy.
A falsely run race over this minimum trip could be his undoing, especially with main market rival The Real Article (a horse that regular readers will know that I have a lot of time for) holding a fitness edge, but the selection is potentially top-class and the 2/1 that was on offer on Thursday evening was too tempting.
A dual Grade 1 winner, the six-year-old travels strongly through his races and improved throughout the whole of last season. Unlucky not to complete the four-timer at the Cheltenham Festival, he could announce himself as a live Champion Hurdle contender this afternoon, if he is able to give 2lbs away to The Real Article under such circumstances.
The 2m4f beginners’ chase is usually won by a classy individual, indeed subsequent RSA Chase winner Bostons Angel won the race last year, and today’s renewal looks a hot event.
Four Commanders sets a fair standard on his recent second and should go close for the Gigginstown House Stud, but there is plenty of strength in opposition, so from a punting point of view it can pay to back the same owners’ Ipsos Du Berlais (2:35) in the 2m6f maiden hurdle.
Noel Meade’s five-year-old looked a horse to follow when winning a bumper at Galway just 13 days ago and today’s trip is bound to suit.
That bumper success came some 19 months after he won his sole point-to-point, so the dreaded ‘bounce’ factor is a slight concern, but Meade wouldn’t risk him so soon unless he thought he was ready to do himself justice once again.
Be sure to pay close attention to the aforementioned Porter & Co Beginners’ Chase though, as there are sure to be plenty of future winners lining up.
2:05 Down Royal: Oscars Well (2/1 Bet365)
2:35 Down Royal: Ipsos Du Berlais
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Last Year’s Tips Included 40 Leading Prospects: £499.80 profit to a level £10!
- AL FEROF won Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 10-1
- BENSALEM won Stewart Family Handicap 5-1
- BOBS WORTH won A Bartlett 15-8, 4/4 for year
- CAPTAIN CHRIS won Arkle Trophy 6-1
- FIRST LIEUTENANT won Neptune Investment 7-1
- (plus Grade 1 in Ireland 16-1)
- JAMES DE VASSY won Lanzarote Hurdle 8-1
- LONG RUN won King George 9-2, Gold Cup 7-2
- OSCAR WHISKY won Aintree Hurdle 6-1
- Peddlers Cross (Fighting Fifth Hurdle)
- Medermit (Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase)
- FINIAN’S RAINBOW (Maghull Novices’ Chase)
- WISHFULL THINKING (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)