Paul Ferguson has three selections for us on Saturday including; Melodic Rendezvous in the Sandown 2.25. Compare odds and bet.
Today’s renewal of the 32Red Novices’ Hurdle (the Tolworth to most of us) looks well above average and it is a race that has been won by Nicky Henderson in each of the past two seasons.
He saddles both Royal Boy and Golden Hoof today, with the former readily preferred after a taking rules debut at Cheltenham 22 days ago, which came almost 21 months after he won his Irish point.
The six-year-old handled the heavy ground that day and stayed on well behind Melodic Rendezvous (a winner for this column on the day); he looks sure to run a big race under Barry Geraghty, but marginal preference is for Jeremy Scott’s runner.
A high-class bumper performer last term Melodic Rendezvous (2:25) travelled really well in behind at Cheltenham and quickened up smartly on the ground. The seven-year-old looked to win with a bit in hand and, given his form on testing ground in bumpers, he is taken to follow up.
Of the remainder Poet is the third 7/2 co-favourite overnight, but needs to step forward on his Newbury debut for me, while regular readers of my column will know I’m a fan of both Pendra and Court Minstrel. However, given their respective official marks, I’d prefer to see both head down the handicap route, and the aforementioned Cheltenham form looks the best on offer to me.
Earlier on the card Court Minstrel’s trainer Evan Williams can strike with his upwardly mobile William’s Wishes (1:50) who is fancied to maintain his unbeaten record over fences.
Three from three in novice chases the season before last, the eight-year-old returned from 22 months off to beat Champion Court at Ascot and the runner-up has franked the form by running a massive race for a long way in the King George.
The son of Oscar, who showed he handles heavy ground last time, has been upped 9lbs by the handicapper, but is taken to complete the ‘nap hand’ at the expense of Domtaline who looks as though he wants better ground. The selection was available at 13/8 with BetVictor and Hills last night.
Tom Scudamore heads to Wincanton for a couple of rides before hot footing it to Chepstow for the Welsh National and the main reason for his trip to the Somerset track is presumably Gevrey Chambertin (2:05) who can make it three from three over hurdles on his handicap debut.
The full-brother to Grands Crus beat Many Clouds (winner since at Ascot) on his hurdles bow at Aintree and followed up over the brush hurdles at Haydock in November, where he beat Corrin Wood in the dying strides.
The runner-up has won since, as has the fourth home Fourjacks and the fifth home Sixty Something, who won a Bangor handicap off a mark of 124. Given the fact he was beaten 24 lengths by the selection, an opening mark of 130 looks fair the David Pipe’s unexposed grey.
Given he won a Ffos Las bumper on heavy ground by 30 lengths last December, the prevailing ground won’t be a problem and he can maintain his 100% record over hurdles at the main expense of last week’s Taunton winner Landscape.
He gets in here without a penalty (won a boys’ race) but the selection, who was trading at 7/4 with Bet365 and Hills last night, has plenty of scope for improvement and gets the vote.
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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)