Paul Ferguson has 3 selections for us on Saturday, Hidden Cyclone in the 2.15 (Leop), Broadbackbob in the 3.10 (Chelt) and Hinterland in the 4.15 (Chelt). Compare odds.
*It seems quite significant that Paul Nicholls swerves a re-match with Baby Mix in the opening juvenile contest and instead runs his exciting Hinterland (4:15) in the concluding Stellar Football “End Of Transfer Window” Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The four-year-old beat subsequent Grade 1 winner Hollow Tree (also runs in the opener) here at the Open meeting, before being brushed aside by Tom George’s grey. Time could tell that trying to concede 7lbs to that rival was an almost impossible task and the form could look even better by 1pm.
Rated 141 for this handicap debut, the selection gets an 11lbs weight for age allowance, which makes him very appealing indeed. He opened up at 9/4 with Bet365 on Friday evening.
With Barry Geraghty and AP McCoy in action at Doncaster (assuming they pass an early morning inspection), Andrew Tinkler gets the leg up on Broadbackbob (3:10) in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, a race Nicky Henderson has won twice recently with Aigle d’Or and Bobs Worth.
A useful bumper performer last term, he was bought for £80,000 by current connections in May and is two from two for them over hurdles so far this season.
On debut at Ascot he beat Cinders And Ashes, who has won three times since, and at Newbury last time he conceded 7lbs to Ballygarvey and Carrigmorna King, who have both won since.
A most likeable individual, he again has to shoulder a double penalty, but so too does his closest market rival Knight Pass, who did us a good turn on Boxing Day when winning a Kempton handicap off 125.
He remains an interesting novice over this sort of trip, but preference today is for Broadbackbob, who looks much more the finished article and has done little wrong to date, plus his form stacks up very well indeed. The selection opened up at 2/1 on Friday evening.
Other highlights at Cheltenham on Saturday include the Argento Chase, which has sadly lost the most interesting runner in the shape of Grands Crus, and the Cleeve Hurdle, where the mighty Big Buck’s bids to land his 15th consecutive success.
The aforementioned juvenile hurdle that opens the card is another cracking contest and one that sees Baby Mix and Grumeti, two potentially top-class juveniles, lock horns. In receipt of 3lbs, the latter may have the edge, but it is only 10 days since he fell at Newbury and it is hard to forget how well Baby Mix travelled here last time on his British debut.
With that in mind, I’ll be watching with interest and there is another potentially exciting ‘match up’ over in Ireland where Hidden Cyclone (2:15) is given the nod over Sir Des Champs in the Grade 2 novice chase at Leopardstown.
Willie Mullins’s charge remains unbeaten in five starts over jumps, but he has to concede 5lbs to the selection, who himself has only lost one career start, in a Grade 1 at this track last Christmas.
He made a very pleasing debut here at this season’s Christmas Festival and he will relish both the step up in trip and the easier ground today. Shark Hanlon’s stable star was a best price 10/11 on Friday evening.
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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)