An excellent midweek card from Newbury this afternoon and, with showers forecast on ground already described as soft, it is sure to be quite testing at the Berkshire track.
Sam Twiston-Davies has been in the news a lot this week, winning the International Hurdle aboard Ole Guard on Saturday before unseating from Hawkhurst with the race at his mercy at Southwell 24 hours later. He is an excellent young rider, future champion jockey and he held his hand up and admitted his error on Monday when talking on At The Races.
He can return to the Winners’ Enclosure in the opener courtesy of Clan Des Obeaux (12.10) who won his sole Bumper in his native France for Olivier Jouin and makes his debut for the champion train Paul Nicholls this afternoon. Jaleo won at Catterick on debut but is a son of New Approach and the testing ground is a concern for the John Ferguson juvenile who must give the selection 7lbs.
Wuff (12.40) folded tamely having been hampered six out over the Hennessy trip here last time. He has been dropped 3lbs for that effort, Sam takes over in the plate and the drop back in trip is a plus. He has not yet fulfilled the promise of his early starts over timber, but is built to carry weight and can come good for Nicholls at the second time of asking having transferred from Tom George during the summer.
I am looking forward to the chase debut of winning point-to-pointer Local Show having his first start for Ben Pauling and I suggest a check of the market to see if there is market confidence.
Potters Legend makes his hurdles debut having finished second in a listed Cheltenham Bumper at the Open Meeting and certainly has the scope to jump a hurdle. That said Wait For Me (1.15) finished third in the Festival Bumper and has hurdling experience although his technique left much to be desired over C&D at the Hennessy meeting. He has a real engine, however, and he is sure to have been well schooled by Philip Hobbs & Richard Johnson.
Nice to see the excellent Josh Moore keep the ride on Allow Dallow (1.50) who won at Huntingdon returning from a 565-day absence last month. Trainer Jonjo O’Neill has given him the best part of four weeks to get over those exertions and he could yet make up into a decent handicapper.
Only four to post for the Graduation Chase and the 11lbs Arpege D’Alene gets from Sausilito Sunrise and O’Faolains Boy sways me to the Nicholls-trained runner who, significantly, wears a tongue tie for the first time this afternoon. The grey was no match for Junction Fourteen at Wincanton but the latter is a good horse and if his jumping holds he can give his more experienced rivals much to ponder.
A cracking card at Ludlow too and For Too looked to be crying out for a step back up in trip when never a factor over the minimum trip at Newbury last time, but he jumped superbly at Carlisle on his previous start coming back from a long lay-off and is 4lbs lower. Preference, however, is for How About It (12.55) trained by Rebecca Curtis whose string are in much better form after a quiet period which the trainer suggested was due to a bad batch of hay.
The 3m Handicap Chase is worth the admission fee alone and Drumshambo would be a threat to all at the foot of the weights if you knew he truly stayed this trip and the same can be said for It’s A Steal who didn’t look to get home over C&D back in February. The vote goes to Gorky Island (2.40) runner up in this event 12 months ago from a 2lbs lower mark and likely to come on for a pipe-
opener over timber last month. A C&D winner previously he looks to have been laid out for this valuable prize.