Saturday’s Kempton Handicap Chase winner Fountains Windfall was cut from 12s to 10/1 with BetVictor for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday. The novice is unbeaten when staying on his feet over the larger obstacles, but he beat little of note at the weekend with market rival Ballyalton failing to give his running and The Young Master continually jumping out to his left.
A competitive card at Newbury this afternoon and Nicky Henderson won the Novice Hurdle on this card 12 months ago with Beyond Conceit. The Lambourn handler is likely to have the winner again today given he is likely to saddle the first two in the betting with Whatswrongwithyou (1.50) and Ok Corral and preference for the former is marginal although he receives 6lbs from his stablemate.
The selection was keen and wore a hood at Sandown when runner up on his hurdles debut. He jumped well on that occasion and the winner has subsequently finished runner up at Cheltenham in listed company. Ok Corral looks every inch a chaser and finished runner up to Yorkhill in a Punchestown Bumper back in 2015 before returning to the track at Kempton in May when he won an ordinary novice hurdle.
His subsequent absence from the track is a slight cause for concern and he is unproven on soft ground. One interesting stat – the two Henderson representatives have run seven times under rules and on each occasion, it has been on a right-handed track. Both run left-handed for the first time this afternoon.
Nick Williams fits Horatio Hornblower (3.00) with cheek-pieces for the first time and I like the booking of Sam Twiston-Davies for the ten-year-old who attracted market support at Warwick last time and is extremely well handicapped on his best form. There is plenty of pace in the race and if his new pilot can get him jumping and the headgear works the oracle he must go close in an ultra -competitive heat.
I like the booking of James Bowen for Just A Thought (3.30) in the Mares’ Hurdle in the hope that the six-year-old can end her frustrating run of seconds. At the time of writing, the Rebecca Curtis yard remain without a win this year, but I was hopeful of a good run from Sunset Showdown at Hereford on Tuesday.
The selection was no match for Midnight Tune at Wincanton last time, but the winner has followed up in handicap company at Kempton and this looks a good opportunity for the mare to get her head in front.
Flintham ran poorly for the Mark Bradstock yard at the weekend but they did have a winner at Plumpton last week and I think Robert’s Star (1.00) can score for the yard at Market Rasen. It’s Obvious and Bright Tomorrow are considered the main dangers in a hot staying hurdle.
There is a listed Mares’ Bumper at the Lincolnshire track and Lizzie Kelly rides the four-year-old Aimee De Sivola (2.40) and can make all receiving valuable weight from her elders. The selection scored at Newbury over an extended mile-and-a-half last time having shaped with considerable promise at Warwick on debut.
At Lingfield, Marmion would be worth noting if the market spoke in his favour but Sky Marshal (2.50) improved for the step up in trip when scoring here over slightly shorter six weeks ago and can follow up for Ed Walker and Liam Keniry.