Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Wednesday; Puffin Billy in the Cheltenham 2.10 and Lady Nouf in the Newmarket 4.05. Compare odds and bet.
Though he has to concede weight all round Puffin Billy (2:10) is fancied to return to winning ways in the opening novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham on Wednesday.
A Grade 2 winner at Ascot earlier in the season, he wasn’t right when beaten by the classy Melodic Rendezvous at Exeter, before running with credit in a very hot Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Mistakes at both the third and second last flights put pay to his chances and the step up in trip should be right up his street today. He does, of course, need to prove he can stay and Bob Ford is sure to make this a thorough test, but I expect him to improve for the extra half-mile and he looks a class apart in this company. The selection opened up 11/10 with Bet365 last night.
Later on the card Champion Court catches the eye in the feature Silver Trophy Chase and, on the pick of his form that includes his run in the King George, he looks the one to beat. He had a tough race behind Cue Card at the Festival, however, and needs to bounce back in a warm heat.
Mr Mole is another of interest in the concluding handicap hurdle, but he is far from straightforward and, while he remains capable off his current mark of 138, he needs to prove what he can find under pressure on a course with a stiff finish. Dr Newland’s Changing The Guard is another to note, having shown himself in fine form of late.
The Craven meeting gets underway at Newmarket this afternoon and HQ stages a cracking card, which includes a couple of interesting maidens, especially the penultimate 1m2f event. Pay close attention to this contest with the future in mind.
The feature, however, is the Nell Gwyn and Richard Hannon’s Sky Lantern heads the market on the back of her fine juvenile campaign, though she has her Group 1 penalty to contend with in what looks a very warm renewal.
There are several others in the line-up with Group race form to their names, but I’m taking a chance on the unexposed Lady Nouf (4:05) who looked good when winning a Leicester maiden on her sole start at two.
The form of that race has worked out nicely and William Haggas has his string in fine form at the start of the season. The local trainer says he is slightly concerned that she will develop in to an Oaks filly and maybe found wanting for speed, but she certainly looks worth a chance at this trip. The Teofilo filly was available at 8/1 with several firms last night, but Bet365 are paying ¼ odds as opposed to the standard 1/5th.
The other once-raced filly in the line-up Hot Snap is another with a bright future ahead of her and it is hoped her attractive mark of 78 isn’t dented too much this afternoon.
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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)