Paul Ferguson has two selection for us on Saturday; Tanerko Emery in the 2.05 and Captain Conan in the 2.25. Compare odds and bet.
Having won for us at 12/1 in last month’s Lanzarote Hurdle, it’s not easy deserting Oscara Dara in today’s Welsh Champion Hurdle, but Nicky Henderson’s eight-year-old has been upped 14lbs by the handicapper and carries top-weight this afternoon.
Tony McCoy’s mount will need to be verging on World Hurdle class to take this off that sort of mark, so he is taken on today with the improving Tanerko Emery (2:05) who will relish the testing ground and should appreciate the step up in trip.
The son of Lavirco arrived from France with a big reputation and has been with a couple of trainers since he got to Britain, but he seems at home with David Pipe now, having won three of his four starts for the trainer.
After scoring in heavy ground at Sandown in December, he followed up in similar conditions at Lingfield eight days later under a 7lb penalty. He was doing all his best work late on that day, leaving the impression he will relish today’s 2m4f trip and he is three from three from today’s jockey Conor O’Farell.
Owner Dai Walters, who owns Ffos Las, won this with Oscar Whisky in 2011 (handicap for the first time today) and he will be hoping to scoop his track’s feature prize again this afternoon. The selection was available at 9/2 with Boylesports last night and Pipe has stated this has been the target since his last success.
In a competitive heat Balder Success has to be of interest off 145 (still engaged in the Champion Hurdle) but he needs to bounce back from a disappointing run in the Ladbroke and Alan King has indicated he might be better in small fields. He also needs to prove he can stay, but I can see him travelling in to contention and looks capable of going close if lasting home.
Rather than maintaining his partnership with the aforementioned Oscara Dara, Barry Geraghty heads to Sandown to partner Captain Conan (2:25) in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase and Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old is fancied to make it three from three over fences.
Again, he is another stepping up in trip and, while his breeding doesn’t suggest he’ll stay, everything about the way he has raced this season has left the impression he will improve over 2m4f.
A sound jumper who has already won a Grade 1 at the track, he handles soft ground and should complete the hat-trick, though he will have to see out the trip strongly today with Changing Times and Houblon Des Obeaux sure to make this a test.
Trading at 1/2 overnight, it is hoped the bookmakers try to take him on this morning and he drifts slightly (I expect he will given his three opponents are no mugs).
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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)