Paul Ferguson three selections from Cheltenham on Friday; Penglai Pavilion; in the 2:10; Drumlee Sunset in the 4.30 and Clondaw Banker in the 5.40. Compare odds and bet.
The new season at Cheltenham gets underway this afternoon with a high-class card, starting with a competitive renewal of the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, a trial for the race of the same name at the festival next March.
Though the trip is an unknown and there appears a bit of pace on here, a turn of foot could still be crucial at the business end of the contest on good ground and Penglai Pavilion (2:10) certainly has that, having proven himself a smart middle-distance performer on the Flat for Andre Fabre.
Two from two over hurdles for John Ferguson, the son of Monsun has a lot more on his plate this afternoon, but he looked a potentially high-class novice in winning lowly events at Hexham and Stratford during the summer, and the five-year-old can make it three from three in the black of Bloomfields. The opening selection was available around 9/4 on first show.
Later on, the 2m maiden hurdle looks another decent event, where a trio of useful bumper winners head the market. Nicky Henderson’s Newsworthy looked good on debut (defied greenness) at Kempton before disappointing at Punchestown, while Mister Miyagi reportedly must have good ground and has had this race as his early season target for several weeks.
Both are respected, but Drumlee Sunset (4:30) looked a really exciting prospect when winning his bumper at Exeter, beating a useful sort in the shape of O O Seven, who went on to run well for a long way in the Champion Bumper.
Philip Hobbs’ five-year-old won his sole Irish point-to-point before being purchased by big-spending owner Roger Brookhouse and, though he will probably need further as the season goes on, the keen-going son of Royal Anthem should have the pace to win over the minimum trip around here. Again, he opened up around 9-4 on Thursday, but that price was quickly being taken.
Another well-backed from the opening show last night was Clondaw Banker (5:40) who can take the concluding conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle for Nicky Henderson and Jeremiah McGrath.
The six-year-old won a Kempton bumper the season before last and, though he failed to get off the mark in four starts over timber last term, he showed plenty of promise, notably early on in the season when twice chasing home Jolly’s Cracked It.
The son of Court Cave needs to settle better here, but he looks potentially well treated off an opening mark of 121 and I wasn’t surprised to see the early 5-1 disappear.
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2015-16
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