Paul Ferguson has three selections for us on Friday; Irving iin the Ascot 2.00, Joanne One in the Ascot 3.10 and Padge in the Uttoxeter 3.30. Compare odds and bet.
Ascot stages a pre-Christmas feast for jumps fans on Friday, with the highlight on the opening day of their two-day fixture the Grade 2 Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle.
Nicky Henderson’s Volnay De Thaix heads the betting, having won both starts in Britain with something to spare, but Irving (2:00) has also impressed in winning both starts in lesser company and, at the prices, he is favoured.
Paul Nicholls’ five-year-old looked really promising when quickening up smartly to score on debut at Taunton last month, before following up just 8 days later over today’s course-and-distance. Both appeal as smart prospects, but 11/10 vs 11/4 looks slightly lob-sided, as there shouldn’t be as much disparity between them in the market. The selection was 11/4 on Thursday evening with both Bet365 and Boylesports.
Jamie Snowden’s useful novice Joanne One (3:10) has done well for us this season, winning both starts against her own sex in novice company, and the daughter of Vinnie Roe looks on a fair mark for her handicap debut.
Expected to line up in the Listed novice hurdle at Haydock on Saturday, the five-year-old has been re-routed here (connections presumably persuaded by the tempting mark of 120) and, while she has much more on her plate this afternoon, she ought to relish the step up in trip on soft ground. She will be hard to keep out the frame, so should be backed each-way with several firms offering 4/1 overnight.
The concluding bumper is a cracking contest to round off what should be an informative card. Carningli sets the standard, but Oscarteea is progressing nicely and Nathans Pride was a horse I liked a lot when winning twice in Ireland. He has since joined Tim Vaughan and is certainly worth considering at probable decent odds, though the ground is very much an unknown.
The bumper up at Uttoxeter is also a decent event, in which Padge (3:30) is taken to make a winning debut under rules for Evan Williams.
His new connections shelled out £160,000 for him last year, after he won a Punchestown point-to-point, which has worked out extremely well since; runner-up Very Wood has already developed in to a smart novice hurdler in Ireland, while the third home Mountain Tunes made it two from two over hurdles at Towcester yesterday.
Earlier on the card, the 2m4f maiden hurdle is worth paying close attention to, in which Wuff can be expected to go well for Tom George and Paddy Brennan. The five-year-old really caught my eye in the paddock (very imposing indeed) before finishing runner-up in a Haydock bumper last month.
This looks a fairly decent event, however, and one that should work out reasonably well, with Cogry shaping well in a warm Cheltenham bumper last time and Allow Dallow also showed a fair degree of promise when chasing home Royal Regatta at Leicester.
2:00 Ascot: Irving
3:10 Ascot: Joanne One
3:30 Uttoxeter: Padge
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