Charlie McCann with the best of Thursday’s action
The Tolworth Hurdle from Sandown is the Grade 1 contest in Britain this weekend and Nicky Henderson’s Claimantakinforgan (2.25) is the 7/4 market leader at BetVictor to make it three out of three over timber for the Lambourn handler who last saddled the winner of this contest four times in the last eight renewals.
The ground is described as heavy for today’s six-race card at Bangor-On-Dee and I am going to take a chance on Ballyegan Warrior (1.15) who has his first start for David Dennis. The selection would have won a point-to-point in his native Ireland on his penultimate start back in October before finishing third over 3m back in November. He might not have got home on that last occasion, the drop to today’s 2m 4f trip should suit and the booking of Aidan Coleman is a positive.
I thought Uppertown Prince (2.15) looked potentially smart when scoring over two-and-a-half miles here last month and I will be disappointed if he doesn’t go close to following up stepped up to three miles for Donald McCain. The selection won between the flags in his native Ireland and he looked one to follow here at the last meeting although one note of concern – runner up Thedellercheckout finished weakly at Ludlow yesterday when well backed.
Samuel Jackson caused a 100/1 shock at Taunton last month but that didn’t appear to be a fluke and connections were hopeful of a big run. We know he stays today’s 3m trip and this winning pointer might be a bigger danger than Henderson’s Follow The Bear who may prefer better ground.
Fin And Game is closely related to the McCain stable’s former Champion Hurdler runner up Peddler’s Cross and he looks sure to go close to defying a 7lbs penalty for winning at Wetherby on his hurdles debut last month. He must give 7lbs, however, to Article Fifty (2.50) who finished third at Southwell on his hurdles debut and was a winner before that of a Bumper and point-to-point.
Three all-weather meetings in Britain and at Newcastle Kaser (7.15) can go one than when runner up at Wolverhampton on debut in the mile maiden. The selection cost 500,000 Euros as a yearling and is certainly bred for the job.
John Gosden’s Court House was beaten at 2/5 at Chelmsford last time over 7f but this step up in trip should suit and he certainly won’t go down without a fight.
Zabeel Star (3.10) will appreciate the return to this extended 10f trip having been just touched off over 12f here last month. Karen McLintock had a good winner at the track earlier in the week and this inmate has plenty going for him.
At Wolverhampton Hard Graft showed improved form when making his fibresand debut at Southwell last time and a 7lbs rise may not prevent him following up for David Brown in the famous John Fretwell colours.
Marginal preference, however, goes to Swissal who ran a terrific race from a poor draw over today’s C&D last tie and a 3lbs rise may not prevent him going one better. Hugo Palmer’s High Seas is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time and he has bits of turf form that suggest he could be well handicapped. I am willing to forgive his all-weather debut when he was posted wide – he has a good draw in stall three today and a market move would be worth noting.
At Chelmsford, Native Arrow (6.15) can make a winning debut for Charlie Appleby. The colt is the first foal of a US turf winner over a mile and he is bred to be effective on this evening’s polytrack surface.
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Noble Behest (7.15) has won his last four and I thought he was good value for the winning margin when scoring at Lingfield last time from a 3lbs lower mark. He had two of today’s opposition in behind on that occasion and he can make it a nap hand.