Paul Ferguson has three Saturday selections including; At Fishers Cross in the Newbury 2.25. Compare odds and bet.
Newbury’s Hennessy card is an absolute cracker, kicking off in fine style with a competitive Listed mares’ novices’ hurdle, in which Willie Mullins saddles Vicky De L’Oasis.
The four-year-old is two from two over hurdles, but meets another smart one in Free Thinking here, who beat a subsequent winner hollow on her hurdles bow at Ludlow recently.
The feature contest looks wide open, as you’d imagine, and I could make a case for several of the 21 strong field: Katenko is a horse I like a lot and I actually backed him ante-post for the Paddy Power, but the ground might not be soft enough for him today; Lord Windemere represents the pick of last season’s staying novices being the RSA winner; Rocky Creek should relish the track and trip, but is another who would prefer softer ground; Our Father is best fresh and connections have surely had this race in mind for some time, yet he is another who wouldn’t mind a bit of overnight rain; Invictus is clearly well treated if returning in the same form; while, finally, Highland Lodge bumped into one at Wincanton last time and should give a good account of himself for Emma Lavelle.
Elsewhere on the card, French recruit Black River looks on a fair mark for his chase debut in the novices’ handicap chase, while Mischievous Milly looks worth a second glance now she is upped in trip for the 2m3f Bet365 Handicap Hurdle.
Oliver Sherwood’s five-year-old shaped as though she would come on for her return at Wetherby earlier in the month and she has more to offer, but I’m not sure how much she has in hand on a mark of 137.
With ‘AP’ up at Newcastle, Barry Geraghty gets the leg up aboard At Fishers Cross (2:25), who won that 2m3f handicap last term, before improving to beat The New One on trials day. Rebecca Curtis’ stable-star, of course, went on to complete the Cheltenham and Aintree double and looks set to play a major role in the staying hurdle division this season.
In receipt of 4lbs from Reve De Sivola and, with Nick Williams’ eight-year-old more at home of softer ground, At Fishers Cross really ought to make a winning return and was trading at 5/6 with the sponsors Bet365 on Friday evening.
McCoy will obviously be hoping to provide JP McManus with a big-race double up at Newcastle where he rides Champion Hurdle hope My Tent Or Yours in the Fighting Fifth and, though I think he could easily develop in to the one to beat come March, I’m not prepared to back him at 8/11 on his seasonal return, given how fresh he was at Ascot on debut last term.
Hopefully he will be able to dispose of the race fit Melodic Rendezvous, but I’d rather watch than play at today’s odds. Keep an eye on the McCoy-Henderson-McManus newcomer Full Shift in the concluding maiden hurdle, as the four-year-old is reportedly held in high regard.
Earlier on the card Oscar Rock (1:05) is fancied to make it two from two over hurdles in “The French Furze” Novices’ Hurdle, despite meeting a couple of impressive last time out winners Ballyalton and Blakemount.
Malcolm Jefferson’s five-year-old was a high-class bumper performer on soft ground for Harry Fry last season and made a winning debut over hurdles at Wetherby earlier in the month, beating a subsequent winner by 19 lengths. The step up in trip shouldn’t be an issue and he can maintain his 100% record over timber under Brian Hughes.
Over in Ireland, the imposing Sizing Gold (1:55) is fancied to make a winning chase debut for Henry De Bromhead and Andrew Lynch.
Fifth when last seen at the Easter Festival here at Fairyhouse, he is better judged on his defeat of the smart Morning Assembly over Christmas or his second to Pont Alexandre in a Grade 2 in late January.
Going back even further, the son of Flemensfirth beat the smart Defy Logic in a bumper last February and, given his size and scope, he really ought to improve for fences. This race has gone the way of Sir Des Champs and Mount Benbulben in the past two seasons and I’m hopeful that Sizing Gold can add his name to the illustrious list.
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