Sad news yesterday that the Champion Bumper winner Fayonagh, who was only 3/1 at BetVictor for the Mares’ Novices Hurdle at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, had to be put down following a fatal injury on Gordon Elliot’s gallops.
Aidan O’Brien’s Saxon Warrior looks as though he will be the mount of Ryan Moore in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday and the colt as cut from 2/1 to 7/4 at BetVictor – remember O’Brien will break Bobby Frankel’s world record of 25 Gp 1 wins in a calendar year if successful in south Yorkshire.
At Ludlow Hatcher (1.55) can go one better than when runner up at Huntingdon on debut when a mistake two out proved costly. With that experience behind him, this dual Bumper winner can get off the mark over timber for the Skelton’s.
Many of the Emma Lavelle string are best-caught first time out and Barlow (2.30) has his first start for the yard having disappointed in the point-to-point field of late. The 10-year-old was a decent sort for Warren Greatrex in the past and may just be a shadow of his former self, but the handicapper has given him a chance and the booking of Nick Schofield suggests connections are hopeful of a big run. A check of the market is recommended.
Banditry (4.35) looks a well handicapped hurdler having scored at Worcester last time and must go close in the handicap hurdle despite the steadier of 11st 12lbs. The selection is rated in the 90s for Ian Williams on the flat and he could easily make up into a decent hurdler
The Beginners’ Chase at Carlisle is a cracker and the mare Happy Diva (3.20) can make a winning chase debut despite today’s two-mile trip being on the sharp side for the Kerry Lee-trained mare.
Barrys Jack (3.55) escapes a penalty for his C&D success last week in a Conditional Jockeys’ event and he can land the hat-trick for Brian Ellison who has his string in good form.
Bigirononhiship did us a favour at Hexham last time, but Venetia Williams is showing signs that her string are beginning to hit top form and Kap Jazz (4.30) was an impressive winner over 2m 4f here last season. He can make a winning reappearance stepped up in trip although he is not guaranteed on breeding to appreciate this severe test of stamina. The yard had a winner on last week’s Carlisle card, soft ground clearly suits and a big run is expected.
At Thurles, I’m looking forward to seeing the hurdle debut of Glens Harmony (3.25) for the Mullins/Walsh combination – the mare won at Navan last season and ran well when runner up in a valuable Navan Bumper following a long lay-off at the end of September. She could be another useful recruit for the yard.