Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Sunday; Tap Night in the Ayr 2.00 and Vesper Bell in the 3.50. Compare odds and bet.
There are plenty of Cheltenham Festival clues on offer at both Musselburgh and Punchestown today, with the Scottish Arkle opening the card at the East Lothian track.
This gives Overturn the chance to warm up on a course that should suit ideally and the Scottish Future Champions Novices’ Chase is another interesting contest, in which Tap Night (2:00) is fancied to make it two from two over fences for Lucinda Russell and JP McManus.
A winner of a handicap hurdle off 140 on his return in November, he made a winning chase bow last month and, though the form isn’t particularly strong, it was a taking performance.
Best known for lowering the colours of Captain Conan at Kelso last March, the six-year-old travelled really well for a long way in last year’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree, so the step up in trip today should prove ideal.
Connections have opted to run here rather than in the Scilly Isles yesterday and, with Tony McCoy over in Ireland, Barry Geraghty takes over in the saddle. Available at 10/11 overnight, the selection was trading at 4/5 with Paddy Power this morning.
Elsewhere on the card, the highly regarded Lord Wishes features in a competitive Albert Bartlett Trial, the unbeaten Kasmir Peak bids to confirm Doncaster form with Sametegal in the Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial, while the frustrating Salubrious drops in class in the concluding conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle. He certainly has the ability to land a race of this nature, though he has been costly to follow so far this season.
Over in Ireland Sizing Europe has been handed a penalty kick in the Tied Cottage Chase, while the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle is arguably the most interesting race of the day with Don Cossack on a retrieval mission having fallen when beaten by Pont Alexendre at Navan. Gordon Elliott’s six-year-old bids to get back to winning ways, but drops back to 2m and faces two smart sorts in Mozoltov and Ned Buntline so is best watched today.
Later on the card Vesper Bell (3:50) is fancied to defy his inexperience and top-weight to land the Grand National Trial on his handicap debut. The seven-year-old has only had two starts over fences to date, winning impressively here on New Year’s Day when he stayed on powerfully over 3m.
The step up in trip will suit and it is interesting that Willie Mullins won this with Hedgehunter (2003) and Some Target (2011) who were both novices who run in the 4m National Hunt Chase on their next starts and that is the target for the selection, who is a 10/1 shot for that Festival event.
A mark of 138 means he has to concede plenty of weight all round, but Ruby Walsh’s mount is completely unexposed and was available at 5/2 with Paddy Power overnight (into 9/4 this morning).
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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)