Paul Ferguson has three Saturday selections; Blakemount in the Newcastle 12.10, O’Faolains Boy in the Ascot 1.15 & Pendra in the Ascot 1.50. Compare odds and bet.
AP McCoy has a fine book of rides at Ascot on Saturday and the champion jockey will no doubt be looking forward to re-uniting himself with At Fishers Cross in the Long Walk Hurdle, while City Slicker arrives at The Ladbroke at the top of his game. He also rides two potentially smart novice chasers (neither of which runs in a novice chase, ironically) in the shape of Pendra (1:50) and O’Faolains Boy.
The former is two from two over fences and bids to land the hat-trick in the BGC Partners Handicap Chase off a reasonable looking mark of 139.
Charlie Longsdon’s five-year-old jumped well to score at Carlisle on debut, before outclassing inferior opposition at Lingfield last month. At his best on soft ground, the son of Old Vic has plenty in his favour this afternoon and was a best price 5/2 with Hills and Betfred overnight.
Earlier, McCoy gets the leg up aboard chase debutant O’Faolains Boy (1:15) in the 2m5f graduation chase, which is essentially a novice contest, as the only second season chaser in the line-up is out of his depth in this company.
Rebecca Curtis’ six-year-old was a smart novice hurdler last term, winning in heavy ground at Chepstow and Bangor (also won a bumper beforehand) before finishing a game fourth to stable-mate At Fishers Cross in the Albert Bartlett.
Another who clearly relishes testing conditions, the son of Oscar faces a fair sort in Easter Day here, though he receives 4lbs from Paul Nicholls’ runner and he has the scope to improve considerably for jumping fences. He was available at 13/8 on Friday evening, with Easter Day heading the market.
Up at Newcastle Blakemount (12:10) can take the opening novices’ hurdle for Sue Smith and Ryan Mania, despite carrying a 7lb penalty for his impressive success at Wetherby on his penultimate start.
The son of Presenting has since finished a fine third behind Ballyalton (winner at Cheltenham last week) and Oscar Rock over today’s course-and-distance and a reproduction of that effort will make him extremely tough to beat.
Yet to be tested on ground this soft, it was on the easy side when he won his point-to-point and it will be disappointing if he can’t return to winning ways, though Greensalt should improve for the step up in trip.
Returning to Ascot for the aforementioned valuable handicap that rounds off the card, Nicky Henderson’s Chatterbox was one I was pretty keen on earlier in the week, though it is slightly concerning that Barry Geraghty (doesn’t often get it wrong) opts to ride Rolling Star. That aside, he looked worth an each-way interest at 9/1 in what looks a typically wide-open affair.
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2013-14
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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