Paul Ferguson has two selections from Cheltenham for us on Friday; Taquin Du Seuil in the 2.40 and Hawaii Five Nil at 4.25. Compare odds and bet.
Jonjo O’Neill saddled a nice winner at Uttoxeter yesterday, in the shape of former Irish points winner Flemenson, and the local trainer looks set for a big day on the opening day of the season at Cheltenham.
He starts off with Rum And Butter in the opening novices’ hurdle and, following his latest second behind subsequent winner Kangaroo Court, the five-year-old has already obtained an official rating of 145. His best form comes on quick ground, however, and any overnight rain would reduce his chance.
In addition, this loks a competitive heat, with his three opponents who have hurdling experience all showing a fair level of form, while the two debutants Pure Science and Cloud Brook looked more than useful in bumpers. The latter was impressive when scoring at Bangor recently, while the former finished fourth in a hot race at Newbury and sixth here in the Champion Bumper.
O’Neill’s second runner on the card is Grade 1 winning hurdler Taquin Du Seuil (2:40) who faces a tall order on his chase debut, but is worth risking at the odds (outsider at 11/4 with Bet Victor overnight).
In Rebel Fitz and Third Intention he faces a couple of proven classy performers over fences, with the former winning his last five and the latter boasting smart form in defeat last term, especially when behind Captain Conan in the Scilly Isles.
The forecast rain, however, will very much be in the selection’s favour and he was a winner on his debut over hurdles this time last year, before trying to give My Tent Or Yours weight at Ascot. After scoring in impressive style at Sandown, he took the Challow Hurdle and clearly didn’t show his true form when only sixth at the Festival.
A nice looking son of Voix Du Nord, he looked a chaser last season and is worth chancing on debut, purely from a value perspective (I expect him to develop in to the best long term prospect and he receives 8lbs from the Irish raider here).
Later on the card, O’Neill saddles Hawaii Five Nil (4:25) in the 2m maiden hurdle and, with Lac Fontana sure to be sent off fairly short, it is hoped that his five-year-old is available at an each-way price.
A bumper winner at Clonmel for Eoin Doyle last November, he may well have been slightly flattered by the way the race was run which enabled him to lower the colours of Turnango (won next two including at the Punchestown Festival), he was then sold to current connections for £130,000 at the Newbury DBS.
The son of Gold Well made his British debut in a Fontwell bumper in March, where he travelled best for most of the race, before being collared by the giant Gentleman Jon, who has since joined Colin Tizzard for £85,000.
He looks capable of going close and giving the favourite a race, so is a viable each-way alternative in what looks a fairly ordinary renewal.
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