• Sun 25 Sep, 2022
  • 09:40 BST
  • 05:40 EST (BST-4)
  • 11:40 CEST (BST+2)

Fergie’s Saturday double

Paul Ferguson has two selections for us on Saturday; Black Op in the Sandown 4.10 and Fujaira Prince in the Doncaster 6.45.

The curtain comes down on the domestic National Hunt season at Sandown this afternoon, where Black Op (4:10) is fancied to land the bet365 Select Hurdle, for Tom George and Johnny Burke.

The eight-year-old hasn’t won since Aintree on Grand National day last year, but he shaped with plenty of promise on his return to hurdling in the Cleeve at Cheltenham on trials day, before appearing not to get home in a more strongly-run Stayers’ Hurdle last time. Therefore, I expect the drop back in distance to suit and the decent ground shouldn’t hold any fears to him either, given that he won his bumper on good ground. His form over this sort of trip over hurdles reads well and he can win for a first time this campaign.

Up at Doncaster, it will be interesting to see how Fujaira Prince (6:45) fares on his handicap debut, after two facile wins in novice company as a three-year-old.

He returns to action at a time when the Roger Varian yard seems in good form and he created a really good visual impression when winning both starts last term. This requires a lot more, but an opening mark of 88 might well underestimate him, judged on the subsequent exploits of those in behind him. Runner-up on his sole start at two, he finished more than 2 lengths ahead of Hats Off To Larry (won off 75 since) on that occasion and he also had Genetics (won three times since, latterly by 12 lengths off 84 at Ascot) back in third when winning at Wetherby last May. The grey is a half-brother to Nichols Canyon so might want further as the season progresses, but the step back up to 1m2f is in his favour and any ease in the ground certainly wouldn’t pose any problems on breeding. He remains open to considerable improvement and he could well prove to better than this grade, certainly in time.

Saturday’s selections:
4:10 Sandown – Black Op; 3/1 BetVictor
6:45 Doncaster – Fujaira Prince; 5/2 Bet365

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