Paul Ferguson has three selections for us on Saturday; Paddy’s Field Bangor 16:30, Cloudy Dream 15:00 and Arbre De Vie 16:45 both at Ayr. Compare odds and bet.
This afternoon’s Scottish Grand National looks as competitive as ever, whilst the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle has cut up slightly since entry stage and, though there is a minor concern over the ground, Cloudy Dream (3:00) looks worthy of each-way support at double-figure odds.
Malcolm Jefferson has his string in tremendous order at present and this lightly raced grey won with plenty in hand on his handicap debut at Market Rasen on Easter Monday.
That was a much weaker race than this over slightly further, but the six-year-old moved through the race like a horse that could take the step up in class in his stride and also like a horse that could be suited by a strongly run race over the minimum trip.
Connections believe he will prove best on decent ground, but it was soft last time and Noel Fehily (takes over from the injured Brian Hughes) ought to suit him. Available around 14-1 on Friday afternoon, he was into 10-1 overnight.
If you are desperate to have a bet in the feature, novices Seeyouatmidnight, Vyta Du Roc and Measureofmydreams all make the shortlist, but all appeared to have hard races at Cheltenham, so are hard to recommend with any great conviction. Another horse who has long been on my radar (regular readers will remember from his early days) is Straidnahanna who catches the eye of those at bigger odds.
Later on the card Two Taffs ought to go well in the Ayrshire Hospice Land O’Burns Starlight Walk Handicap Hurdle, but he’s not been missed in the market and I would prefer to back Arbre De Vie (4:45) each-way (was 9-2 with Bet365 on Friday evening).
Willie Mullins’ six-year-old ran better than the bare result would suggest off this mark in the Coral Cup and he certainly won’t mind the softening ground. Paul Townend’s mount has only had the two starts this term and looks capable of a bold show under top-weight.
Down at Bangor-On-Dee Paddy’s Field (4:30) is the third horse to back each-way in a handicap hurdle.
Ben Pauling’s six-year-old needs to leave behind a slightly disappointing effort in the EBF Final and the stable haven’t exactly been firing in the winners of late, but he had earlier looked a useful novice in the making.
A winner at Market Rasen in January, the step up in trip could bring about some improvement and he looks slightly over-priced, with both Bet365 and SkyBet offering 7-1 overnight.
3:00 Ayr Cloudy Dream 8/1 BetVictor
4:30 Bangor-On-Dee Paddy’s Field 13/2 Skybet
4:45 Ayr Arbre De Vie 4/1 Bet365
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