Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Friday from Newbury; Saphir Du Rheu in the 12:30 and Puffin Billy at 15:45. Compare odds and bet.
The second day of Newbury’s Hennessy meeting looks an absolute cracker and, though he’s had a couple of short price reversals in the race in recent seasons, Paul Nicholls is taken to land the opening juvenile hurdle for the third time in the past decade with Saphir Du Rheu (12:30) who finished third in a Listed contest at Auteuil in September.
Having watched the race last night, he looks a taking son of Al Namix who ought to come in to his own over fences in time, but the testing conditions will be right up his street here on his British debut and he may have more staying power than interesting Flat recruits Bold Cuffs and Pistol.
Ludlow runner-up Vasco D’Ycy has the best domestic hurdles form on offer, but that came around a sharp 2m on good ground and this will be a completely different test today. The selection carries the Stewart Family silks that have been carried to success in this contest by Turko (2005), Phar Bleu (2004) and Le Roi Miguel in recent years (2001).
The Grade 2 novice chase should go the way of Dynaste, who was really impressive at Cheltenham a fortnight ago, when he had more pace than Fingal Bay. Conditions look ideal, but the 4/6 disappeared quickly on Thursday evening and, at around 2s on, he is best watched (as he has been best fresh in the past).
Theatre Guide, who beat Hinterland on debut, could be the one to capatilise should something go wrong with David Pipe’s grey and he could be one to consider if there is a market available without the favourite.
Unexposed novice Ballybough Pat catches the eye in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) and, with African Gold winning yesterday, his form was given a timely boost. Runner-up to the exciting Wonderful Charm in the Persian War last time (third gave Clondaw Kaempfer a race last week), a mark of 135 gives him a chance, though his lack of experience and the fact he needs to prove he stays the trip are enough to put me off in what looks a competitive affair.
Nicky Henderson often saddles one of his brighter prospects in the concluding maiden hurdle (won it with Kid Cassidy and Bellvano recently as well as saddling Riverside Theatre and Mono Man to place) and Kaki De La Pree is reportedly held in some regard, but he faces a hugely exciting prospect in the shape of Puffin Billy (3:45) and Oliver Sherwood’s dual bumper winner is taken to maintain his unbeaten record.
A winner by 17 lengths from a subsequent winner at Fontwell in March, the son of Heron Island was even more impressive when winning under Barry Geraghty (aboard Kaki De La Pree today for his boss) at Ascot at the start of the month.
A smooth traveller, he will probably want further in time but should be fine at 2m to begin with and the ground shouldn’t hold any fears for the four-year-old.
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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)