Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Thursday; Springinherstep in the Cheltenham 2.00 and Hillstar in the Newmarket 5.45. Compare odds and bet.
It’s Craven Stakes day at Newmarket today and, though only four go to post in the big race, the re-match between Champagne Stakes first and second Toronado and Dundonnell promises to be informative.
More competitive is the valuable 3-Y-O Trophy sales contest, for which Ghurair was trading at odds-on overnight. Based on his juvenile form he is a worthy favourite, but there are any number of improvers lining up here, in particular Luca Cumani’s Greatwood. Despite holding entries in the Dante and the Derby, his mark of 84 would make him much more appealing in handicap company, though he is a horse I like.
The concluding handicap can go the way of Hillstar (5:45) who looked full of potential when winning a maiden at Leicester in October.
The form of that maiden success has been franked and this is a race in which Sir Michael Stoute invariably saddles one of his better three-year-olds. Indeed the Danehill Dancer colt, who looks open to plenty of improvement up in trip, is another who holds entries in the Dante and the Derby.
A mark of 83 looks a fair starting point for his three-year-old campaign and Ryan Moore’s mount was available at 7/4 with Paddy Power on Wednesday evening.
Nicky Henderson won the opener at Cheltenham yesterday and he holds a strong hand in the first race on today’s card, a Listed mares’ novices’ hurdle that he won last year with Une Artiste.
The same owner is represented with the market leader Ma Filleule, who is ridden by Barry Geraghty, but the supposed stable second string Springinherstep (2:00) looked smart when winning at Huntingdon a couple of weeks ago and looks a viable each-way alternative.
The six-year-old, who bolted up in a bumper at Southwell last July, had been beaten when too keen on her hurdles bow at Towcester in November, but bounced back to winning ways in taking fashion earlier in the month.
She beat a fair yardstick on that occasion and, though she was in receipt of a stone, it was hard not to be impressed and she arrives here fresher than most and open to plenty of improvement after just three career starts.
David Bass retains the ride and the jockey who struck on 25/1 shot Polly Peachum in a similar event earlier in the week (again stable second string) is two from two aboard the selection. She was trading at 9/2 with Bet365 overnight and, with the dead eight going to post, she looks worthy of each-way support.
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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)