Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Sunday; Dakar Run in the 2.55 and Bear’s Affair in the 3.35 both at Uttoxeter. Compare odds and bet.
Though he failed to shine in his first crack as a chaser a couple of seasons back Bear’s Affair (3:35) is built for the larger obstacles and is given another chance on his seasonal return at Uttoxeter.
Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old has a fine record when fresh and has improved again considerably since his original stint over fences, winning an Aintree handicap off 140 on his return last December.
A bumper winner at this track on his racecourse debut back in October 2010 (when he beat the high-class Champion Court) the good-looking son of Presenting is a horse I have long been a fan of and, hopefully, things can now click over fences.
Tony Star brings sound placed chase form to the table and Le Bec was a useful novice hurdler last season who ought to take to fences, but Bear’s Affair was the best of these over timber and should be good enough granted a decent round.
Earlier on the card, there are three really interesting maiden hurdles. Bear’s Affair’s stable-mate Rally is one to note in the market in the 2m4f maiden, while the opener looks the warmer of the two divisions of the 2m contest.
Ballyalton was a smart sort in bumpers the season before last and wasn’t seen again after finishing a close second Southwell in November, while Milord was last seen finishing fourth in the Fred Winter, having earlier chased home Chatterbox at Newbury. Add in the mix a couple of interesting newcomers and this is a race to watch closely with the future in mind.
The second division looks weaker and, while Emma Lavelle’s newcomer Timesremembered is one to pay close attention to, the conditions (2m on decent ground) should play to the strengths of Dakar Run (2:55) who was a dual bumper winner for Richard Fahey, before finishing fifth in the Grade 2 at Aintree.
The son of Dalakhani has since changed hands for £80,000 and makes his debut in the green and gold hoops of JP McManus this afternoon. He possessed plenty of pace last term and should appreciate the decent surface. Neither selection would want any overnight rain.
There is a cracking mixed card over at Tipperary, where The Mighty Milan is chucked in the deep end on his hurdles debut, but is one to monitor, while the bumper looks a very strong contest and one that should throw up plenty of future hurdles winners.
I can’t end today’s column without a mention of Longchamp, where the unbeaten Treve is the one I like in the Arc. The high-class filly has a blinding turn of foot and, while the fact she needs to be held up kind of negates her poor draw, the fact she will need plenty of luck in running is enough to make this a watch as opposed to a bet. This year’s renewal looks pretty strong indeed and should be a race to savour.
2:55 Uttoxeter Dakar Run 11/8 Bet365
3:35 Uttoxeter Bear’s Affair 15/8 Bet365
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2013-14
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New for 2013-14:
Grade 1 winning jockeys Nick Scholfield and Jane Mangan provide readers with their horses to follow
Last years results included:
* Leading Prospects, Arvika Ligeonniere (x3), Boston Bob, Captain Conan (x3), Champagne Fever (x2 inc Supreme Novices’ Hurdle), Glens Melody, Melodic Rendezvous, Simonsig (Arkle) & Un Atout won 13 Grade 1 novice contests between them
* My Tent Or Yours won 4 times including the Betfair Hurdle and the Top Novices’ at Aintree
* Stable Round-Up included Neptune winner The New One, Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Court Minstrel and David Pipe’s Dynaste of whom it read “could follow the Grands Crus path of last year, starting in the Steel Plate And Sections before he is readied for the Feltham” – he won both races and also scored at Aintree in April
* Across The Sea – Mount Benbulben 14/1 winner of the Grade 1 novice chase at the Punchestown Festival
* Under The Hammer – horses featured in this section included Champion Bumper winner Briar Hill (25/1) and The Liquidator, who won the equivalent Grade 1 at Punchestown – this section has been greatly increased for 2013-14