The news broke on Monday afternoon that John Gosden’s brilliant mare Enable would be kept in training as a six-year-old and bid to regain her Arc crown at Longchamp next year.
Ascot have had to switch three of their big races on Champions Day to what is their hurdles track with further significant rain forecast in the run up to Saturday. French raider The Revenant has been the big mover for the Group 1 QEII (9/4 from 4s at BetVictor) with the ground having gone against Benbatl who is out to 5s (from 3/1) at BetVictor.
There is an eight-race card at Carlisle starting at 12.15 this afternoon and I mention the time of the first race as it is an absolute cracker and I am convinced there will be a number of winners come out of the race going forward.
Neil Mulholland had a double at Hereford on Tuesday, and he saddles Irish Odyssey in the first division of the novices’ hurdle. The 6-y-old won his Bumper first time out before disappointing under a penalty and a market move would be worth noting despite his 550-day absence from the track.
The vote, however, goes to Jelski (12.45) representing the father and son combination of Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies who have won this corresponding race for the last couple of years. The selection – who will get further in time – won a Bumper at Ffos Las before finishing last of 14 in the Champion Bumper in March.
Tango Boy was a rare Mulholland Bumper winner last season and must go close in the second division of the Novice Hurdle but Bourbon Borderline (1.15) was an impressive winner of a point-to-point in his native Ireland back in December and was all the rage for a Bumper for the Skeltons on his sole subsequent start at the end of March. He ran well enough on that occasion at Warwick but may have just needed the experience.
Higgs (2.55) looked in need of a step up in trip when a well-supported third at Exeter last week and is actually 3lbs “well-in” for today’s handicap hurdle. Note he is also entered at Fakenham on Friday. David Bass takes over in the saddle for Dr Richard Newland.
Robin Dickin’s horses remain quiet but his Vocaliser (3.25) has gone well fresh in the past and looks attractively weighted at present. Two miles over fences going right-handed on soft ground are his optimum conditions and he is 13lbs lower in the weights than for his last success. It can only be a speculative selection given the form of the yard, but they could be a stable worth following when they return to form.
Bathsheba Bay is interesting in the opener at Wincanton having his hurdles debut for Paul Nicholls having been rated in the high 80’s for Richard Hannon on the flat. The vote, however, goes to Nickolson (1.40) who justified odds on favouritism when winning his sole Bumper for Ollie Murphy at Ayr back in February.
Stockburn is a thorough stayer who must go close in the 3m 1f Handicap Chase, but Barbrook Star (3.55) is only 6lbs higher than when scoring over C&D back in March in first-time cheek-pieces. The headgear is applied again this afternoon and he gets the nod for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson.
If there is a potential star on show at the Somerset track it could be Enrilo (4.55) who won two of his three Bumpers for Paul Nicholls last season and could make up into a decent novice hurdler this winter. This near two-and-a-half-mile trip looks ideal.
The Boola Bee (5.25) looks sure to appreciate the extended three-mile trip of the finale for conditional jockeys. The selection finished runner up over an inadequate trip at Perth last time and, as long as conditions are no worse than good to soft – he can score for Nigel Hawke.
There is a competitive card at Wolverhampton, and you can put a line through the run of Purdey’s Gift (7.45) at Kempton last time when he was constantly denied a run. He gets the each way vote this evening although it would have been a confident selection had he not been drawn near the M6 in stall 12.