Buveur D’Air will have his final prep run for the Festival at Sandown on Saturday in the Contenders Hurdle. Nicky Henderson’s duel Champion Hurdler is 5/4 with BetVictor for his hat-trick bid and it should be noted that BetVictor are now betting each way 4 places (1/5th odds) on the opening day feature.
In recent years there have been just 11, 11, 12, 8, 9, 9, 10 runners in the race and Laurina (3/1 with BetVictor) surely cannot be out of the first four in receipt of 7lbs from the geldings. Note she does hold an entry in Saturday’s Irish Champion Hurdle (for which she is 4/1 at BetVictor) at Leopardstown but she is not a guaranteed runner at this stage.
We lost the turf meeting at Lingfield yesterday and both today’s jumps cards (Leicester 8am and Plumpton 7.30) are subject to inspections with neither sounding particularly optimistic. There is also an inspection planned at Lingfield for their all-weather fixture at 8am but they are hopeful that racing will go ahead.
Narjes snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when nabbed close home by Global Wonder over C&D here earlier in the month although these two hold-up performers had the run of the race as they want off far too fast up front.
Nine of Bobby Biscuit’s (1.50) 11 career starts have been at Kempton and this will be his first start at Lingfield. He ran an eye-catching race at Kempton last time when he may not have got home over 11f and today’s shorter trip should suit. John Egan takes the ride on Simon Dow’s 4-y-old who is well drawn in stall two although he may need luck in running.
A market move for Godolphin’s debutante Dawn Crusade would be worth noting in the fillies’ maiden over 10f given trainer Charlie Appleby had a 40% strike-rate with newcomers at the track last year. Simon Crisford’s Simple Thought sets the standard, but the Frankel filly Royal Family (2.20) went off just 6/1 on debut at Kempton over a mile and should leave that run behind with that experience under her belt. She is drawn out on the wing in stall 7 but should get a good toe into the race with Simple Thought a confirmed front-runner.
Only four go to post for the valuable fillies’ handicap but three of the runners are last time out winners in a fascinating little contest. I feel Made Of Honour might need a mile around these tight turns and the vote goes to Treasure Me (2.50) who returns from a three-month lay-off for Charlie Fellowes. The selection’s C&D win came from a 4lbs lower mark back in September and she is reunited with regular pilot Stevie Donohoe. The market should provide valuable clues at to whether the filly is forward enough after her break.
I am sure there are races to be won with Minuty and Global Goddess sooner rather than later but the booking of Adam Kirby for Reignite (3.20) stepping back up to 7f could be significant for Emma Owen. The colt was never competitive in a first-time hood over 6f here last time, but he does have bits of form which suggest he could be better than a 60-rated horse. He is still an entire and may have his mind on things other than racing, but he gets the each way vote.
The debutante With Cation wouldn’t have to be anything out of the ordinary to make a winning debut in the 6f Novice Auction Stakes, but the Bated Breath gelding Scorched Breath (3.50) shaped with promise at Kempton – well backed – and is entitled to improve for the experience.
At Wolverhampton this evening Markhan looks sure to have his supporters representing Gordon Elliot and ridden by Jamie Spencer, but like the rest of the five-runner field he has yet to prove he truly stays 2m on the level and preference is for the filly Moon Of Baroda (5.15) who ran a promising race at Kempton last time – behind Red Royalist who reopposes on 1lb worse terms – returning from a four-month lay-off. I feel she can reverse the form with that run under his belt and get off the mark at the eighth attempt.
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