Paul Ferguson has two selections from Newbury for us on Saturday; Oscar Rock in the 1.45 and Black River at 2.50. Compare odds and bet.
The feature event in Britain on Saturday is Newbury’s Grade 1 Challow Hurdle, in which Oscar Rock (1:45) is fancied to return to winning ways for Malcolm Jefferson and Brian Hughes.
A dual course bumper winner when trained by Harry Fry (the latter in a Listed event that worked out very well subsequently) and he made the perfect start to his hurdling career when scoring by 19 lengths at Wetherby in November – the runner-up has won twice since, including back at the same venue yesterday.
Upped in trip to 2m6f at Newcastle last time, he went down by ½ a length to subsequent Cheltenham winner Ballyalton, while the third home Blakemount won easily last week over the same course-and-distance.
The form of that race is strong and, back on more testing ground and with Hughes likely to make it a stamina test, the five-year-old can bounce back. The selection was available at 11/4 with Betfred last night.
Later on the card Black River (2:50) can continue the good run of Paul Nicholls in the 2m5f handicap hurdle, having fallen here over fences on his British debut.
The four-year-old remains on a fair mark (134) judged on his defeat of Vautour at Auteuil in March, with the runner-up running out an impressive winner recently for Willie Mullins. The step up in trip shouldn’t be a problem and he is another who should relish underfoot conditions. He was available at 2/1 with Ladbrokes overnight.
Whisper is a danger dropping in class and he has winning heavy ground form, but his jumping needs to improve after his latest third.
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