Paul Ferguson two selectiosn for us on Saturday; Western Cape in the 4.10 at Ascot and Bun Duran in the Haydock 4.20. Compare odds and bet.
Selected in this column yesterday for a maiden hurdle at Chepstow, which was of course abandoned due to the track being waterlogged, Bun Doran (4:20) is again given the nod for the concluding contest at Haydock.
Admittedly, this looks a stiffer assignment on paper, but Tom George’s impressive point-to-point winner created a big impression when winning a Chepstow bumper on his rules debut and also shaped with considerable promise on his hurdles bow at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting.
He faces a couple of useful novices here in the shape of Vintage Clouds and Baratineur, who battled out a similar contest here at the Betfair fixture in November. Sue Smith’s son of Cloudings finished strongly that day to record a 9-length success and has since finished a fair second over the more traditional hurdles here over Christmas. He sets a fair standard, but wants further in my opinion.
Harry Skelton’s Baratineur has since finished runner-up in a handicap here (winner hailed from the same Newbury maiden hurdle as Bun Doran) and also warrants plenty of respect. But, the market shapes up nicely here and the selection should be backed each-way, with the step up in trip likely to suit. He was trading at 9-2 with several firms and 4-1 with Coral, who offer ¼ odds to each-way terms.
Willie Mullins could easily dominate the Graded races down at Ascot, while the valuable handicap hurdle looks an absolute cracker. Theo’s Charm is a novice I really like and is one that could be well treated (132) with the step up in trip likely to suit, while at bigger odds I can see course winner Simply A Legend running a big race for Alan King and Tom Bellamy. The latter has a tremendous record racing right-handed since the application of the hood and he deserves this step up in class.
However, the race looks ridiculously deep and a case could be made for several others, including Value At Risk, who many of you will know I am a huge fan. Things haven’t gone to plan over fences and he reverts to hurdles on a fair mark, so a big run could be on the cards – it is hoped that he doesn’t jump too cautiously, as that will prove most costly in a field of this nature.
Again, in terms of punting, it is a case of saving best until last where Western Cape (4:10) looks over-priced (10-1 with Paddy Power) in the 2m5f novices’ hurdle.
An impressive winner over course-and-distance last month, Seamus Mullins’ five-year-old needs to step forward once again (King Kayf and Minstrel Royal are weighted to reverse form, while Masterplan and Duke Des Champs clocked a quicker time over CD on the same card), but he moved stylishly last time and there was certainly no fluke about the victory.
The 10lb penalty is far from ideal, but the selection looked capable of stepping up in grade and was even being spoken about as a possible for the Grade 2 at Cheltenham next Saturday. Kevin Jones’ mount is fancied to give the weight away.
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2015-16
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