Only seven entries were made at the five-day stage for Saturday’s Betfair Chase at Haydock and supporters of Gold Cup winner Sizing John will be delighted to see trainer Jessica Harrington have a couple of winners over the weekend at Punchestown.
The Charlie Hall Chase winner Bristol De Mai heads the market at 6/4 with BetVictor with Sizing John 2/1 and last year’s winner Cue Card, who will be ridden by Harry Cobden for the first time, 3/1 and 8s Bar. Sizing John is reporting to be targeting the £1,000,000 bonus for winning the Triple Crown of Betfair Chase, King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup so is likely to be well forward for his reappearance and I think he is the one to beat.
At Fakenham this afternoon, Kayfleur has never won over fences but the handicapper has given her a chance for her reappearance in the Mares’ Handicap Chase and the booking of Richard Johnson suggests connections are hopeful first time out.
The nod, however, goes to Maid Of Milan (1.20) who has won two of her last four starts for Charlie Mann and is the mount of 5lbs claimer James Bowen who continues to go from strength to strength. The selection will appreciate the return to 3m having stayed on over 2m 6f when beaten two lengths off this mark at Uttoxeter last time.
Bardd (1.50) is not the most resolute of battlers but the handicapper has certainly given him a chance in the 2m Handicap Hurdle for Amateur Riders’. The selection has been a beaten favourite in his last five starts and must be showing more on the Lambourn gallops than he has on track in recent outings. The Elite Racing Club have had some top-class hurdlers in their colours and Bardd is taken to add to the Greatwood Hurdle success of Elgin on Sunday.
The two-and-a-half mile Novices’ Chase is a cracker at Southwell with the four-year-old Forth Bridge, owned by Her Majesty the Queen, stepping up in trip having fenced well enough behind Sceau Royal at Warwick on his chase debut.
At the time of writing, Anthony Honeyball’s last three runners have all won and his Fountains Windfall was just short of top class over timber. He must go close but marginal preference goes to Henderson’s Stowaway Magic (1.00) who was himself a 140-rated hurdler and won his sole point-to-point in his native Ireland. The betting will provide valuable clues as to how he has schooled at Seven Barrows, but he certainly has the scope to be a decent chaser.
I hope it is a good day for the progeny of the sire Stowaway as Another Stowaway (2.00) can go one better than when runner up at Aintree last month. The selection went off at 80/1 for that race but there was no fluke about his performance and the winner, On The Blind Side, won at Cheltenham upped in class last weekend.
There’s a decent flat card at Lingfield and Middle Kingdom (2.10) can win his third start from four starts in the valuable 10f handicap. The selection looked an unlucky loser at Chelmsford last time out from this mark although he cannot afford to be slowly away in this competitive heat.
Sir Mark Prescott fits Kohinoor Diamond (3.40) with cheek-pieces for the first time and this lightly-raced filly looked ready for a step up to 12f when staying on, having been slowly away, at Chelmsford (10f) last month.