A number of top class performances on Saturday, but one that may have gone unnoticed was that of the mare Countister who was a facile winner of a novice hurdle at Doncaster and was cut from 16s to 10/1 with BetVictor for the Mares Novices’ at the Cheltenham Festival. Next Destination (6/1 from 10s Albert Bartlett at BetVictor) impressed in the Grade 2 Novice Hurdle at Navan on Sunday having looked in trouble two out. Stamina looks his forte.
The recent cold snap has led to a number of recent abandonments especially in the north but the BHA have reacted by putting on an extra card at Musselburgh this afternoon. The executive have announced a precautionary inspection for 8.30 but they certainly appear optimistic that racing will go ahead.
Silver Concorde (12.10) is nine-rising ten but did win the 2014 Champion Bumper and made a pleasing debut when scoring over the best part of two-and-a-half miles here at the beginning of the month. Today’s return to the minimum trip should not be an inconvenience and he can make it two out of two for Keith Dalgleish.
An Laoch (2.50) ran a great race over an inadequate trip at Newcastle last month and this winning pointer can go one better although he has been raised a couple of pounds for that run. He has not run right-handed over rules but, as long as he is as effective going clockwise, I think he will be tough to beat despite the steadier of 12st 3lbs.
The juvenile Lisp ran an excellent race over 2m 2f at Fontwell on his hurdles debut and this slight drop in trip will certainly help but if Knockanuass !12.20) settles better than he did over C&D last time he can land the Plumpton opener for Jamie and Gary Moore. The selection must give 19lbs to Lisp but I thought the horse would drop away given how hard he had pulled a fortnight ago and if he learns to drop his head, he will be tough to beat.
The exciting Fixe Le Cap (12.50) was last seen in France winning a hurdle back in May and can make a winning chase debut in the Novices’ Chase. The racecourse give a bonus to connections if they win a chase at Plumpton and then go on to score at the Cheltenham Festival and they have been rewarded with another exciting newcomer to the chasing ranks.
Le Coeur Net would have won at Fontwell last week for coming down four out and one could argue he is a winner without a penalty. That was a poor race, however, and I hope the maiden Sir Hubert (3.00) can improve on a promising chase debut when third over today’s trip at Lingfield. The selection has run some of his best races over timber at Plumpton and he gets a narrow vote for Richard Rowe.
At Fos Las Hurricane Rita (12.30) may have bumped into one when runner up at Towcester on her reappearance and she is taken to go one better, albeit off a 2lbs higher mark for Olly Murphy. The mare is 12lbs higher than when scoring for her previous yard at Ayr back in March but she gets the vote in a competitive opener.
The 2m 4f Handicap Chase is a hot race and my two against the field are chasing debutant Cougar’s Gold and the mare Champagne To Go (1.30) despite the fact that the latter was not at her best last time when pulled up at Exeter. The Bailey yard were not at their best at the time, however, and the selection has been given the best part of seven weeks to get over that poor run.
Cracked Rear View (3.15) is visored for the first time having run with promise on his chase debut returning from a near 21-month lay-off for Kim Bailey. The selection was always considered a potential decent staying chaser and it is interesting that Bailey brings him back to the track just 17 days after his chase debut.