Paul Ferguson has three selections for us on Saturday; Le Vent D’Anton 1:15 at Naas, Upswing 1:50 Newbury and Smashing 3:35 at Newbury. Compare odds and bet.
Sadly Irving (our ante-post selection) misses this afternoon’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, but the other horse I liked at entry stage makes the line-up and looks worthy of each-way support at 12/1 with Bet365 offering 5 places.
The horse in question is Willie Mullins’ Smashing (3:35) who has created a very favourable impression since arriving from France and is assured to handle the demanding conditions.
It is hard to make a case that the grey is ‘chucked in’ off 143, but he looks on the up and will not be inconvenienced, as several of these will. Of course, the list of potential dangers is a long one, with Dell’ Arca and Cheltenian on fair looking marks, while it is not hard to envisage 50/1-shot Jumps Road travelling in to the race, given the way he has run the last twice.
Earlier on the card Upswing (1:50) is taken to bounce back from a final flight fall at Wincanton on Boxing Day, when he was just behind the useful Champagne West.
The winner went on to frank the form in fine style at Ascot and, assuming the Jonjo O’Neill-trained six-year-old is none the worse for the fall, he looks sure to go well.
The step up in trip and testing ground are likely to be in his favour this afternoon and he was available at 3/1 with Hills on Saturday morning.
The concluding bumper on the card looks an informative affair, as does the corresponding race over at Naas, where a couple of exciting Gigginstown House Stud youngsters go head-to-head. Pay close attention to both contests.
The opening event at the Irish venue can go the way of Le Vent D’Antan (1:15) who is sure to come on a ton for his recent hurdles debut, when third at Fairyhouse.
An impressive winner of a Leopardstown bumper last January, Liz Doyle’s five-year-old went on to run well for a long way in the Champion Bumper and needs to be winning this if he is to take up his engagement in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
1:15 Naas Le Vent D’Antan
1:50 Newbury Upswing
3:35 Newbury Smashing
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