Paul Ferguson has three selections for us on Saturday; Sizing Gold and Glens Melody at Leopardstown and Clondaw Kaempfer at Newbury Compare odds and bet.
Though he is likely to be ideally suited by better ground later in the season Clondaw Kaempfer (2:45) is taken to land the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury this afternoon.
Donald McCain’s four-year-old is two from two over hurdles and for the stable, having won a valuable bumper at Fairyhouse in April for Colin Bowe. An easy winner on soft ground at Aintree on his debut over timber, the son of Oscar followed up at Haydock last month when the drop back to 2m didn’t prove an inconvenience.
The £130,000 purchase should relish the step up in trip and, while his form doesn’t match that of Taquin Du Seuil at this stage, he is taken to improve past that rival now he’s back up in trip.
Jonjo O’Neill has won this race three times in the past decade and his runner is the main danger based on his recent Grade 2 success at Sandown, a race Fingal Bay won before taking this last year. However, the vote goes to Jason Maguire’s mount, who was trading at 7/4 overnight.
A big run from Taquin Du Seuil would point to My Tent Or Yours in the concluding introductory hurdle, a race Nicky Henderson has won for five out of the past six seasons (Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby won the other renewal when his Kid Cassidy finished third).
The local and in-form trainer won the race with subsequently high-class performers Duc De Regniere, Khyber Kim and Quantitativeeasing, so clearly targets the contest and it will be disappointing if My Tent Or Yours doesn’t make it two from two over hurdles. But, he’s likely to be really short (no prices available at the time of writing) and the ground could well blunt his speed, plus he will need to settle better.
Over at Leopardstown Hurricane Fly is the star attraction in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle, where he will be very hard to beat under Ruby Walsh, who was in inspired form aboard both Back In Focus and Tidal Bay yesterday.
In the very next race, Walsh takes the ride aboard Glens Melody (2:35) who, on a line through the smart Minsk, has a bit to find with stable-mate Zuzka but is worth chancing in receipt of 10lbs from the market leader.
A high-class bumper performer last term, the four-year-old found Minsk too good on her debut over timber, before winning a maiden hurdle at Clonmel at prohibitive odds earlier this month.
Favourite Zuzka is improving all the time and finished third behind Jezki (impressive winner here earlier in the week) and Champion Bumper winner Champagne Fever in the Grade 1 Royal Bond last time. A reproduction of that would make her difficult to beat under Patrick Mullins, who has been handed a great chance to break the amateur record.
The race was run to suit last time, however, and Glens Melody remains an exciting prospect in her own right, so is given the nod at 5/2 with Bet365 (early Friday evening price).
Earlier on the card Sizing Gold (12:55) should be hard to beat in the 2m4f maiden hurdle, having bumped in to a couple of smart sorts on his first two starts over timber.
Henry De Bromhead’s strapping son of Flemensfirth will appreciate the step back up in trip and looks the sort to continue to improve throughout this first season over hurdles.
Runner-up to both Seefood and Don Cossack so far this term, the soft ground Navan bumper winner (runner-up won by 35 lengths on his next start in November) sets a decent standard and can provide connections with a second win at the meeting, following Sizing Europe’s success earlier in the week.
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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)