Paul Ferguson has one selection for us on Wednesday; Coyaba in the Cheltenham 3.40. Compare odds and bet.
It was a nice to round off the year with a winner yesterday and you couldn’t ask for a better way to kick off 2014 than with the novice hurdle that opens Cheltenham’s card.
Ballyalton is rock-solid and improving all the time, though there are form lines to give connections of Racing Pulse hope that he can give him a real test, in receipt of 4lbs. Throw in the mix the improving and unbeaten Royal Regatta (who is two from two for this column this term) and you have the recipe for a corking race, indeed. The latter would have been the each-way selection, had there been 8 runners going to post, but instead it is a watching brief, as this race should really work out.
Another that falls in to the same category is the concluding Listed junior bumper, in which a case could be made for several of the 12-strong field.
However, Coyaba (3:40) created a really good impression when making it two from two at Towcester in late November, staying on particularly strongly, giving the impression that today’s extra furlong and stiff finish should play to his strengths.
Martin Keighley’s Midnight Legend gelding had travelled through the race like a smart prospect and can confirm the promise he has shown to date, by completing the hat-trick under Ian Popham. The selection opened up 7/2 with Bet365 overnight.
Modus and Adeupas D’Ycy both looked useful when beating the same rival in bumpers at Exeter, but the pair that could pose the biggest threat are northern-raiders Lady Buttons and Hurricane Hollow, who both looked smart prospects when scoring at Wetherby and Carlisle, respectively.
3:40 Cheltenham: Coyaba; 11/4 betvictor
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