Paul Ferguson one selection from Newcastle (Bun Doran 3.25) on Saturday and two from Kempton (Champagne West 3.35 and Clean Sheet at 4.10). Compare odds and bet.
Regular readers of my column will know that I am a big fan of Champagne West (3:35) who has proved costly to follow of late, but I’m prepared to give Philip Hobbs’ eight-year-old another chance at Kempton today.
The Westerner gelding blundered away his chance at Cheltenham on trials day and that is the common theme of late – the horse does tend to hit one pretty hard. If he can eradicate that, he remains well treated for me (if there is a Grade 1 winner among this lot it is him) and I’m hoping that today’s flatter track may able him to get into a nice rhythm.
He has yet to win over this far and will need to settle early on, but he holds a class advantage in this company for me, and Tom O’Brien is back in the saddle, having ridden Champagne West when he was runner-up in December. A former Irish point-to-point winner, he finished fourth in the Albert Bartlett on his only try at 3m over hurdles.
Of the opposition Thomas Brown looks to be on a fair mark but, given the fact I have backed him for the Ryanair Chase (NRNB), I have to side with the market leader here. He was a 5-1 shot overnight.
Another horse capable of leaving behind his run at Cheltenham on trials day is Clean Sheet (4:10) who didn’t appear suited by the muddling nature of that contest, over a trip shorter than ideal.
That was his first run in the best part of a year and Nicky Henderson’s runner can be expected to improve significantly now he goes back up in trip. The son of Oscar holds entries in the Martin Pipe and the Coral Cup and probably needs to be winning this if he is to get in at the festival.
Up at Newcastle Bun Doran (3:25) can continue his progression in what looks a fairly warm renewal of the 2m6f Betfred Lotto Novices’ Hurdle.
Tom George’s five-year-old has looked a nice prospect in three starts under rules (also impressed me when winning his point) and, though he faces a couple of smart types, notably Delusionofgrandeur who has the strongest form on offer, this full brother to Shantou Village is taken to make it two from three over timber.
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