It’s Coral Scottish Grand National day up at Ayr and Green Flag (3:50) is fancied to go well in the feature, for Lucinda Russell and Peter Buchanan.
The seven-year-old novice won his first three starts over fences, including here in November, after which he finished runner-up in the Grade 1 Feltham on Boxing Day and was most recently seen finishing fourth in the Baylis & Harding at Cheltenham.
The form of that race was well advertised last Friday at Aintree, when the first two home, Holywell and Ma Filleule both won, and the selection has been dropped 1lb by the handicapper.
The step up to 4m could really suit the son of Milan, who has plenty going for him. Available at 9/1 with the sponsors overnight, we should get double-figures somewhere at some stage this morning. Several firms, including Bet365, Bet Victor, Boylesports, Paddy Power and Stan James are offering ¼ odds to 5 places.
Earlier on the card, My Tent Or Yours (2:40) sports the hood and earplugs for the first time in the Scottish Champion Hurdle, in order to help him settle.
The Champion Hurdle runner-up has to give plenty of weight away in this limited handicap, but he has the class to do so and the drying ground will help on that score. The flat track will also be right up his street and AP McCoy’s mount can stamp his class; he was trading at 11/10 with Stan James on Friday evening.
If that price is too tight for you in handicap company, Clever Cookie looks a viable each-way alternative around 9/1, with Bet365 and Stan James offering ¼ odds.
Down at Newbury, where Mutakayyef is one to note in the opening maiden, Kingman (2:55) is fancied to maintain John Gosden’s fine start to the Flat season in the Greenham Stakes.
Unbeaten in a Newmarket maiden and the Solario Stakes at two, the Invincible Spirit colt looked a serious prospect and, with the stable in such good form, he could hardly be returning at a better time. This looks a warm renewal of the 2,000 Guineas trial, but Kingman, who was available at 2/1 with Bet365 last night, can maintain his 100% record.
Paul Cole’s Berkshire is another three-year-old colt that I am particularly looking forward to seeing return and he looks the best alternative, trading around the 7/1 mark.
Elsewhere, keep an eye on Retirement Plan on his return to action under top-weight at Thirsk, while back at Ayr, the bumper looks a potentially informative affair, with Kempton winner Miles To Memphis just one that has impressed so far this term.
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