Paul Ferguson has three selections from Cheltenham for us on Wednesday; Faugheen (1.30); Big Shu (4:00); Katgary (4:40).
Willie Mullins’ unbeaten Faugheen (1:30) is taken to land the opening Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.
Ruby Walsh’s mount looked a future star when winning his bumper by 22 lengths and has barely broken sweat to make it three from three over hurdles.
The drop back in trip is not a concern, as he possesses plenty of pace, and, while he needs to jump more fluently this afternoon, the son of Germany is taken to get it right when it matters.
Irish raider worth backing is Big Shu (4:00) who should be difficult to beat in his bid to land back-to-back Cross Country chases for Peter Maher.
The nine-year-old follows a familiar path, in that he was runner-up in the same Punchestown contest en route and he is fancied to reverse form with Love Rory, as he was expected to strip a fair bit fitter for that return. If he handles the better ground, a big race looks assured.
The Fred Winter isn’t a race that I usually get overly excited about, but I can’t resist a small each-way interest in Katgary (4:40) who has presumably been saved for this, as he has yet to race in Britain for Paul Nicholls and the Wylies.
The son of Ballingarry won impressively at Dax in October (visually impressive in beating a subsequent winner) before staying on strongly to follow up at Enghien in November. The better ground is an unknown, but he has been the subject of several positive updates on the preview night circuit and he looks worth taking a chance on.
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