Paul Ferguson has three selections for us on Sunday; Oscar Well in the 1.05 at Punchestown, Captain Conan in the 1.10 and Village Vic in the 3.25 both at Cheltenham. Compare odds and bet.
With the ground deteriorating enough for Nicky Henderson to pull out both Sprinter Sacre and Darlan, it can pay to tread carefully at Cheltenham on the third and final day of the Open meeting.
Henderson can, however, provide us with the opening winner as Captain Conan (1:10) is fancied to land the Grade 2 novices’ chase on his first start over fences.
The massive five-year-old looks made for the larger obstacles and, with plenty of form on very soft ground in France, conditions shouldn’t be a concern for him.
The selection was trading at 5/4 with Bet365 early on Saturday evening and, given the positive schooling reports from Seven Barrows, he has been popular in the Arkle market overnight.
Well Sharp looks well handicapped and is of interest in the intermediate hurdle, though the Flat bred is not sure to appreciate such deep ground over jumps and is, therefore, best watched this afternoon.
Another to watch closely is Vendor, who was bitterly disappointing on his return to action at Aintree last month, though he is one who ought to relish conditions today. Alan King’s grey needs to leave that run behind, but he shouldn’t be written off after that one poor run and it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see him bounce back to form at big odds here.
Fox Run created a big impression on his rules debut at Worcester recently, but he faces Village Vic (3:25) in this afternoon’s Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle and he has the stronger form, yet is the bigger price.
Paul Nicholls’ runner is full of potential, but Philip Hobbs’ five-year-old ran a race full of promise in a much better race on his hurdles debut and is worth siding with as Bet365 offered 11/4 this morning.
A smart bumper performer, who won on heavy ground at Chepstow on debut, he looked a lovely long term prospect when chasing home The New One last month and can go one better here with the ground in his favour.
The concluding bumper is full of exciting prospects, none more so than Fascino Rustico, but he is by Milan and not sure to appreciate the conditions. This race should be watched closely with the future in mind.
Over at Punchestown, Hurricane Fly is the star of the show, but the one to back on the card is Oscars Well (1:05) who can land the Craddockstown Novice Chase for Jessie Harrington.
The seven-year-old was a high-class hurdler and he took really well to fences on his debut over course-and-distance. Robbie Power’s mount can make the most of the 6lb he receives from the admirable Baily Green and he was available at 8/11 with Paddy Power this morning.
1:05 Punchestown Oscars Well (8/11)
1:10 Cheltenham Captain Conan (1/1)
3:25 Cheltenham Village Vic (11/4)
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Last Year’s Book Results – Leading Prospects:
- SPRINTER SACRE – Unbeaten – winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- SIMONSIG – Winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- CINDERS AND ASHES – 10/1 winner of Supreme Novices Hurdle
- BOBS WORTH – 9/2 winner of the RSA Chase
- MENORAH & SILVINIACO CONTI – Both Aintree Winners
- SIR DES CHAMPS – Unbeaten inc 3/1 Jewson Cheltenham Winner
- FINGAL BAY – Won 4 times inc Challow Hurdle
- RAYA STAR – 10/3 winner at Wetherby, 12/1 Ladbroke Hurdle winner, 15/2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner
- AMBION WOOD – 14/1 EBF Final Sandown winner
- CHAMPION COURT – 6/1 G2 Dipper Novices Chase winner
- PALACE JESTER – 14/1 winner at FFos Las
- SWINCOMBE FLAME – Hat-trick winner inc Lanzarote Hurdle at 9/2
- TEAFOR THREE – 5/1 NH Cheltenham Chase winner (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)