Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Saturday; Cinders And Ashes in the Newcastle 2.20 and First Lieutenant in the Newbury 3.10. Compare odds and bet.
Bobs Worth has been favourite for the Hennessy Gold Cup since the ante-post market opened several weeks ago and Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old looks sure to run a big race, but at the prices First Lieutenant (3:10) looks a viable each-way alternative.
Mouse Morris’ Irish raider has a similar profile to the market leader, in that they both won Cheltenham Festival novice hurdles in 2011 and there was just 2½ lengths between them in the RSA Chase at this year’s Festival.
While the favourite hasn’t been seen since, the selection run over an inadequate 2m at Punchestown on his final start last term and was also badly in need of his return at Gowran in October.
He left that form a long way behind when chasing home Kauto Stone at Down Royal last month and a reproduction of that form ought to see him go close under Bryan Cooper, who retains the ride today.
The son of Presenting only has a 1lb pull with Bobs Worth for the 2½ defeat in the RSA, but he has proven himself on soft ground and, while it doesn’t look as bad as many expected earlier in the week, it will be a stamina test.
Considering Bobs Worth is 4/1, First Lieutenant looks worthy of each-way support at three times the odds (12/1 with Ladbrokes) with all firms offering ¼ odds to 4 places.
Should Newcastle beat an 8am inspection Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Cinders And Ashes (2:20) ought to take a bit of beating in the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle and the 8/11 with Paddy Power seems more than fair with Darlan and Rock On Ruby missing the contest due to the ground.
The five-year-old won three times on soft and heavy ground prior to beating Darlan at the Festival and, if he has pretensions of making up in to a genuine Champion Hurdle contender, he probably needs to be out-speeding the likes of Countrywide Flame and Irish raider Trifolium, who carries the same Gigginstown House Stud silks of First Lieutenant.
On that note, it is interesting that Davy Russell remains in Ireland today to ride Bog Warrior who returns to hurdling on a very attractive mark. He could easily dot up off 122, but the race has not been priced up at the time of writing, while he also rides Bright New Dawn in the opening maiden hurdle. This could be a warm contest with Edward O’Grady saddling impressive bumper winner Lord Of Lords and Noel Meade’s Ned Buntline making it a race to watch; he looked very good in winning at Naas three weeks ago.
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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)