The Ladbrokes Trophy – formerly Hennessy Gold Cup – is the big race at Newbury this weekend although we will see the Stayers’ Hurdle winner Paisley Park make his seasonal reappearance in the Long Distance Hurdle on Friday for which he is 4/7 at BetVictor.
Nicky Henderson’s Ok Corral heads the market at 7/1 with BetVictor for the Trophy although Gordon Elliot’s Champagne Classic – 16s at BetVictor – is my antepost selection although I would now wait for confirmation that he will make the journey across the Irish Sea before considering any further support.
We begin today’s preview at Sedgefield and Donald McCain’s Presentandcounting is from the family of champion hurdler Binocular and it will be interesting to see what the market makes of this Irish point winner who makes his debut under rules this afternoon.
The vote, however, goes to David Pipe’s Induno (2.20) who won a Ffos Las bumper last time having shaped with considerable promise when runner up on debut at Warwick. Champion jockey Richard Johnson rides Stonific for David O’Meara and he is another to consider in what promises to be an informative Novices’ Hurdle.
The feature event is a 2m Handicap Chase and a market move for Joke Dancer would be worth noting on chase debut now that the Sue Smith yard are back among the winners. Top-weight Tonto’s Spirit will ensure there is a decent gallop, but I do hope there may be more to come from the chasing debutante Martila (2.50) and Pauline Robson’s seven-year-old gets the vote. The selection is from a decent jumps family and is bred to make a better than chaser than hurdler.
The hope is that Pipe can follow up courtesy of Paricolor (3.20) who did us a favour when scoring at Fakenham last week despite a less than fluent round of jumping. The juvenile picks up a 7lbs penalty for that success but he looked well ahead of the handicapper on that occasion. Do note he isn’t the biggest horse to be carrying in excess of 11st but he looked well ahead of the handicapper last time.
At Southwell All Good Things must go close in the 2m C/J Handicap Hurdle but I am going to take a chance on Baratineur (3.00) who finished runner up twice last season and is 6lbs higher than when second to Trapper Peak at Sedgefield back in January.
That looks harsh on the face of it but the winner continues to go from strength to strength and is now rated 28lbs higher than when beating the selection in County Durham. The booking of BetVictor Gold Cup winning jockey Richard Patrick is a positive for David Wintle’s eight-year-old.
There is a good twilight card at Wolverhampton and Loving Glance (5.20) is taken to finally break her maiden tag at the sixth time of asking for Marytn Meade as she drops back in trip to an extended 7f for the first time. She often travels well in her races and I hope Richard Kingscote gives her a positive ride. There is no better jockey at Dunstall Park.
Olly Murphy is best known for his jumps exploits but I am keen on the chances of Fiesole (6.20) in the 12f handicap despite the steadier of 10st. The selection was denied a run twice in the home straight at Kempton last time and I like the booking of James Doyle. There are a couple of three-year-olds who remain open to further improvement and a market move for Htilominlo would be worth noting returning despite a three-month lay-off.
I am interested in seeing how Chinese Alphabet (6.50) goes on his first start for Michael Appleby who has a history of improving horses from other stables. The selection is still a maiden after 10 starts but he looked ready for a step back up in trip on his last start for William Knight.