Paul Ferguson has two Saturday selections, including Court Minstrel in the Ascot 2.45. Compare odds and bet.
Provided the ground doesn’t deteriorate too much overnight Court Minstrel (2:45) can make a winning return in the Listed William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Ascot.
Regular readers will know that I have long been a fan of Evan Williams’ six-year-old and he did this column a favour on more than one occasion last term. At his best when held up off a strong pace on decent ground, the Scottish Champion Hurdle winner remains open to further progress and is capable of landing another valuable pot from a mark of 149.
If the rain stays away and the ground is no worse than good-to-soft (hopefully he will be pulled out if the ground turns against him) Paul Moloney’s mount is worth backing each-way at 6/1 with bet365.
Up at Wetherby ‘AP’ continues in his quest towards 4,000 winners and he will certainly be disappointed to leave the Yorkshire track still eight winners short of his next landmark.
His rides include chase debutant It’s A Gimme and the unexposed More Of That for Jonjo O’Neill, while he takes the mount aboard Benefficient in the Charlie Hall and Une Artiste in the OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle, a race she won last year. He kicks off the afternoon on another chasing debutant, the useful Sixty Something for Paul Webber, but it his other two mounts that stand out.
Unbeaten in six starts last season, culminating in success in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham and the Sefton at Aintree, At Fishers Cross (3:00) made huge progress throughout the season and, while he needs to step up again here, the six-year-old can take the rise into open company in his stride.
The pick of his form came on testing ground (the Aintree race didn’t take as much winning in my opinion) so the forecast ground conditions shouldn’t be an issue and the track promises to play to his strength. Rebecca Curtis’ stable-star was trading at Evs with Bet365 overnight.
Earlier on the card, McCoy can guide Gone Too Far (1:15) to success on his debut over timber, in the Bet365 Novices’ Hurdle.
Runner-up to the exciting Oscar Rock (a winner here by 19 lengths yesterday) on debut last November, he beat Hannibal The Great (another to score impressively on his hurdles debut this season) at Kempton in May and his bumper form could not look any better now.
Alan King won this race back in 2004 with the useful Nyrche and the trainer saddled a treble at Uttoxeter yesterday, so clearly has his string in fine shape. It will be disappointing if the selection fails to score on debut here.
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