A maximum field of twenty-four will go to post for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday and it is 10/1 the field at BetVictor with Jenkins, Lalor, Waterlord and Irish Roe heading the market. Picking who will go off market leader is a big enough conundrum let alone finding the winner!
Kempton stage a jumps card this afternoon and the ground is described, at the time of writing, as good to soft. Nicky Henderson’s Ok Corral (1.50) failed to give 6lbs to stablemate Whatswrongwithyou at Newbury last time over the minimum trip having scored at Kempton back in May.
The eight-year-old has only had four career starts but his breeding would suggest this step up in trip should suit and he is considered a decent sort at Seven Barrows. You can put a line through Marten’s last run given the yard were out of sorts at the time but the Ben Pauling runner is considered a danger in a competitive novice hurdle.
Modus (2.25) was beaten when coming down three out at Exeter back in December, having looked a useful novice when scoring at Bangor and Wincanton earlier in the season. The horse holds entries in the three novice chases at the Cheltenham Festival next month and the Paul Nicholls-trained runner can return to winning ways.
The 3m handicap Chase is a belter and preference for Brandon Hill (3.30) is marginal in the feature event on the card. The selection finished third over C&D last time when he jumped boldly from the front against two decent sorts. That form is working out well with the winner Tintern Theatre running a terrific race at Haydock last time, before coming down, and the fourth (Holly Bush Henry) a subsequent winner.
In the concluding Bumper Stop The World is likely to be a warm order in the first division given he finished runner up to the exciting Brewin’Upastorm in a point in his native Ireland last April. He must go close but I can pass on a good word for Imperial Aura (4.05) who gets the each way vote for Kim Bailey.
At Bangor Rons Dream ran a very good race reverting to fences at Chepstow last time and she receives 6lbs from Happy Diva (1.40) in the opening Mares’ Novices’ Chase yet would be giving 4lbs if this were a handicap. I am a big fan, however, of Happy Diva who jumped very well at Ludlow when scoring last time and gets on very well with Richard Patrick who takes off a valuable 5lbs.
James Bowen has been booked for Alan King’s Potterman (4.25) who travelled well but was readily brushed aside at Newbury last time and he can take advantage of the weight he receives from the other principles in the 2m Novices’ Hurdle.
Module (2.45) was due to race in Ludlow’s abandoned card midweek and would pick up and carry today’s opponents at his best. He was badly out of sorts when last seen almost 12 months ago, but is still only 11 and I suggested he might line up at Aintree in the Foxhunters’ if all goes to plan. I like the look of Noel George and the horse did finish third in the BetVictor Champion Chase of 2014.
There is a fast-track qualifier for the Good Friday Lingfield card at Chelmsford this afternoon and Soul Silver (3.50) can reverse recent form with Pattie on 8lbs better terms and stepped back up in trip to a mile.