THERE’S a tremendous card packed with quality at Warwick tomorrow and I’m forecasting a big day for Rebecca Curtis as the Welsh-based handler is set to send a number of intriguing contenders up the M5.
The Grade Three Betfred Classic Chase (3.35pm) is set to be a real battle of attrition over 3m 5f on heavy ground and only genuine stayers are going to have a chance to land the £34,000 first prize.
Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins stated at the start of the season he would be sending more of his all-conquering stable over to these shores and he will saddle Vesper Bell.
This one is disputing favouritism and is interesting on his head second two starts back at Punchestown in similar conditions, but he disappointed at Aintree on his first venture to England.
You can forgive a fall over the unique fences, but we should remember this horse has only won one of six starts over the bigger obstacles and may be vulnerable to a more battle-hardy performer.
The one I like, and he hasn’t gone unnoticed in the market since the declarations were made yesterday, is Curtis’ BOYFROMNOWHERE.
The seven-year-old has a strong record on heavy ground and, after a satisfactory return when admittedly well-beaten into third by the reopposing Shotgun Paddy, the gelding relished the step up in trip to 3m 4f last time.
His 5lb claimer, Patrick Corbett, is useful and means Boyfromnowhere has just 10 stone so back him at 6/1 with Star Sports.
That might complete a nice double for Curtis if her O’FAOLAINS BOY can take the novices’ chase at 1.20pm. The son of Oscar was progressive over hurdles last season, finishing a decent fourth behind his high-class stablemate At Fishers Cross at the Cheltenham Festival, and made an eye-catching debut over fences last month.
He came there looking like the winner only for the lack of a recent run to tell in the closing stages. It was still a fine second and getting 8lb from a number of key rivals, O’Faolains Boy looks a decent bet.
Kempton hosts the rearranged Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at 1.35pm and, after the defection yesterday evening of likely favourite Irving, the stage is set for David Pipe’s THE LIQUIDATOR to take full advantage.
Already as short as 10/1 for the Supreme Novices’ in March, a win here will see his odds contract further. It’s a fair contest but The Liquidator is a top-level bumper winner and can make it three from three over hurdles.
Finally, CAPTAIN CHRIS can land the Listed Chase at 2.10pm and justify his mark as the highest-rated runner in the field.
A neck second in the 2012 King George here, 2m 4f on soft ground at Kempton is exactly what the 10-year-old should relish and it doesn’t look a particularly strong race with only two of the 12 runners coming here on the back of a win.
O’FAOLAINS BOY 1.20pm Warwick (tomorrow)
THE LIQUIDATOR 1.35pm Kempton (tomorrow)
CAPTAIN CHRIS 2.10pm Kempton (tomorrow)
BOYFROMNOWHERE 3.35pm Warwick (tomorrow)