Paul Ferguson has one selection for us on Wednesday; Apache Stronghold in the Punchestown 15.20. Compare odds and bet.
Punchestown’s season gets underway this afternoon and the 2m4f maiden hurdle, which has been won in the past three years by First Lieutenant, Sword Of Destiny and Just A Par, looks a cracking contest.
A lot will depend on whether or not the ground deteriorates enough overnight to allow Apache Stronghold (3:20) to take his chance. If so and Noel Meade’s five-year-old is available at odds against, the Milan gelding is probably the one to side with.
A winner on debut at Down Royal 11 months ago, he went on to finish third in two very warm bumpers, latterly in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper here in April. He looks an exciting recruit and can make a winning start, if the ground is easy.
Gigginstown saddle the horse with the best hurdles form in the book, in the shape of the 121-rated Thunders And Roses and he is the chosen mount of Davy Russell, with newcomer Hologram a non runner.
The latter was a really pleasing debutant winner for David Elsworth in a Wincanton bumper and was picked up for €50,000 at the sales. Beautifully bred, by Teofilo out of Love Divine, he is closely related to Sixties Icon and a half-brother to Native Ruler. If the ground remains on the quick side, he looks to have every chance
3:20 Punchestown: Apache Stronghold; 11/10 bet365
Away from the racing for a moment, as I would like to highlight a couple of really worthwhile causes I’ve been alerted to in recent weeks. Firstly, I was fortunate enough to spend some time at Greatwood last Thursday, before going on to Lambourn for a couple of days, and the work currently being carried out down there is extremely inspirational.
Re-training and re-homing ex-racehorses is just the half of it and Greatwood is the only organisation to use these ex-racehorses to help educate disadvantaged children and young adults with special educational needs (SEN).
Check out their website for further details www.greatwoodcharity.org and there will be a new star joining the ranks next month, when Spirit Son will reside at Greatwood from 13th November.
The second cause I’d like to alert you to is the brains behind Racing 4 Girls Stephanie King (aka @ms_arsenal) has just carried out a photo shoot, spread between Newmarket and Nicky Henderson’s Seven Barrows stable, as they are producing a 2014 racing themed calendar.
The proceeds are going towards two great charities, The Injured Jockeys Fund and Racing Welfare, and the calendar can be pre-ordered now on their website www.bettingbeauty.com/calendar or by following Steph on Twitter. Thankfully, those asked to pose for the shots did not include their sites’ guest bloggers (of which I am one), but it’s a bit of good fun and all in the name of fund raising.
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2013-14
Pre order now, published early September in good time for the new season:
Just £9:95 inc p&p
* order online www.cc-publishing.co.uk
* or, send a cheque payable to ‘The Racing Insider’ to PO Box 98, Liverpool L9 1WY (with address details)
Fellow Betrescue columnist and Bet Victor’s Charlie McCann says: “it really is a privilege to write the foreword for such an informative and well-researched publication, which continues to go from strength to strength.”
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