tomorrow’s prestigious £150,000 handicap hurdle.
Our selection looked nothing special when campaigned over hurdles as a novice last year, but built on an eye-catching run at Aintree in October when spread-eagling a decent looking field at Sandown the following month. However, it was his run in the Greatwood Hurdle last time when separating Champion Hurdle hopes Khyber Kim and Medermit that appeals as the strongest on offer. Admittedly, he had a flyweight that day, but it was the way he travelled and quickened that suggests he may well be developing into a really decent type.
There isn’t a better handler in the game than Gary Moore at finding more improvement in hurdlers just like this fellow and the fact that he hasn’t run since November (weather aside) suggests that he feels he may still be ahead of the handicapper.
Nicky Henderson is another with an incredible record and the master of Seven Barrows is looking for his fifth win tomorrow. Spirit River was really impressive at Cheltenham, but is very short for one with such little experience. In fact, I’d far rather be on his ‘second string’ FAIRYLAND at 16/1 with Boylesports as she looks to be improving and will stay every yard.
The headline grabbers at Newbury tomorrow are Denman and Master Minded, who look pretty hard to oppose in the Aon Chase and Game Spirit respectively. However, it may pay to snap up the 8/1 (as short as 5/1 with Boylesports) available about VOY POR USTEDES winning the Ryanair Chase at the Festival. If he runs well behind Master Minded, he’ll be half those odds by dusk tomorrow.
Regular followers of this column should be holding some 20/1 about Somersby for the Arkle Chase at the Festival and it could be the time to back another one in that race. LONG RUN is currently available at 9/1 and if he wins at Warwick over two miles tomorrow afternoon, he’ll surely be aimed at the Arkle rather than the RSA Chase and his odds will also collapse.
Finally, look out for ELLEN TILLEY at Plumpton on Monday. Alan King’s six-year-old mare is apparently in rude health and is expected to go very close.