Paul Ferguson has three selections on Saturday; Hadrian’s Approach (Sandown 3.50), Nichols Canyon (4.25 Sandown) and Diakali (5.00 Punchestown) Compare odds and bet.
Nicky Henderson will be crowned champion jumps trainer this afternoon at Sandown and the trainer can round off a memorable season on a high with Hadrian’s Approach (3:50) who is taken to land the Bet365 Gold Cup.
The six-year-old novice was selected for this race just over a week ago at 12/1, having run well in third in the RSA Chase last time. While that form was not exactly boosted during the week, Lyreen Legend ran a sound race and Boston Bob was creeping into contention in the same race when falling.
The better ground and longer trip should bring about improvement in the son of High Chaparral, who is still available at 10/1 this morning. With the sponsors offering ¼ odds to 5 places, he is worthy of each-way support if you’re not already on at 12’s.
Henderson also has live claims in the earlier Bet365 Handicap Hurdle with impressive Aintree winner Minella Forfitness, though it is slightly off-putting that the trainer said that he would be put away directly after that latest success. Clearly an after thought, he has the ability to defy a 9lb rise under his favoured conditions but, at the odds, I’m prepared to watch rather than play.
Later on the card John Gosden can land the extended 1m2f Bet365 Handicap with Derby entry Nichols Canyon (4:25) who begins life as a three-year-old on a mark of 85.
Having shaped well in a couple of maidens here during August and September, the Authorized colt was a 2 length winner on soft ground at Goodwood, in a race that has thrown up several subsequent winners.
The selection stayed on well that day, so the step up in trip should suit and, if he is to be considered for a tilt at the Epsom classic, he needs to be going very close off his current mark. He is available at 3/1 with Boylesports and Betfred this morning.
Over at Punchestown, Willie Mullins can sign the week and the Festival off with another Grade 1 with Diakali (5:00) who ought to be tough to beat in the absence of leading juvenile Our Conor.
It is seven years since the trainer won the Champion Four Year Hurdle, but he runs four here today and Ruby Walsh’s mount looks the pick, judged on his Grade 3 win here and his second behind Our Conor at Leopardstown in February.
Fourth in the Triumph, the son of Sinndar tried to put it up to the impressive winner and probably paid the price, fading after the home turn. With the first time hood fitted today to help him concentrate from the front, he will be difficult to beat and was available at 10/11 with Betfred this morning.
I’m having a few days off after today, but will be back on Wednesday.
3:50 Sandown: Hadrian’s Approach
4:25 Sandown: Nichols Canyon
5:00 Punchestown: Diakali
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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)