|Marino Marvel (middle) was just beaten by Turasoir at Clonmel.|
Monday, 14 January 2019
Unfortunately, my last tip on this blog over a week ago was a massive disappointment. He Rock’s was always in rear and never looked like figuring. He will no doubt bounce back at some stage, but my money won’t be on. We get the rare treat of a Tuesday card at Fairyhouse on Tuesday and while the fare is mediocre at best, I do think there is one worth backing at nice odds in the 20f handicap hurdle at 3pm.
Marino Marvel remains a maiden after 29 starts in both codes and his recent form figures are far from awe inspiring. However, he has demonstrated he has sufficient ability to pick up a weak race at some stage on more than one occasion, and they don’t get much weaker than this low grade handicap hurdle.
His best run over timber so far came when Conor Maxwell was on board at Thurles off a mark of 87 (16f yld). He was beaten by a short head by 93 rated Turasoir who had a 7lb claimer on board. She is now rated 107 after winning easily off 98 since. Marino Marvel has now dropped to a mark of 85, and his last run at today’s trip was his best for some time.
He may only have finished 7th at Clonmel last month (20f yld) off a mark of 90 but he was only 2.5L behind the 4th home, All About Alfie, and he came out and won on his next start. He earned an RPR of 97 for that run, and on better ground I think he can improve on that effort.
His last two runs were poor but they can be excused, especially the last one at Punchestown over 16f. For a horse that likes to race in the first half of the field at the very least, it was strange to see him dropped out the back. He charted a very wide course too and it was no surprise that he didn’t feature at the finish.
I am hoping that he is ridden more prominently at Fairyhouse and it is interesting that the usual cheekpieces are discarded. Conor Maxwell rides regularly for McLoughlin (20 wins from 320 rides) and he is on Marino Marvel, with Robbie Colgan (1 win from 37 rides) taking the ride on his other runner, Glendaar’s Warrior, who is shorter in the betting.
Marino Marvel is now rated 5lb lower than when running well at Clonmel last month and 2lb lower than when beaten by Turasoir. Dermot McLoughlin had a couple run well in a handicap hurdle at Punchestown on Monday and Waitaki ran a cracker at Dundalk on Friday, so his string is still in decent shape. I think Marino Marvel has it in him to run a big race on Tuesday, if he is in the mood, and at 25/1 a small each way interest is advised.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.00 FAIRYHOUSE-MARINO MARVEL E/W @ 25/1
Monday, 31 December 2018
The old saying ‘horses for courses’ served us well at the end of 2018 and hopefully it gets us off to a flier in 2019. The Irish action on New Year’s Day comes from Fairyhouse and my each way fancy goes in the 25f handicap chase at 3.15. He Rock’s has been badly out of form recently, but the return to the County Meath track could spark him back to life.
This son of Beneficial has not fired on his last four starts, beating just two rivals home and failing to complete twice. In fairness to him, he was in the process of running well when falling two starts back at the Galway Festival. His other three efforts left a lot to be desired but in his defence, he was running over trips that are probably too short for him nowadays.
As a result his mark has now tumbled to 120 and if he is at his best he is capable of winning off that rating. His last two runs at 3 miles plus at Fairyhouse saw him produce two of his best runs since winning at Roscommon in 2016. He was badly hampered at the last when 3rd to Presenting Percy here on soft in December 2017 off 125 over 29f.
He Rock’s ran a cracker when 2nd 5L behind White Arm off the same mark on good to yielding in April 2017 over today’s course and distance. He was conceding over a stone to the winner that day and he was 11L clear of the 3rd.
Three different jockeys have been on board for his three wins, so hopefully Robbie Colgan can add his name to the list. He has ridden five winners for Mahon in the past and he was 4th om Double Portrait for the yard just before Xmas. Stakes should be kept small due to He Rock’s poor recent form, but there are enough positives to justify a modest each way interest at odds of 28/1.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.15 FAIRYHOUSE-HE ROCK’S E/W @ 28/1
Wednesday, 26 December 2018
We failed to get a winner on the board on Day 1 at Leopardstown, but at least we picked up some place money. Jon Ess ran better than his finishing position and distance beaten suggest. A sticky jump at a crucial time cost him dearly but he did keep on well in the home straight. Got Trumped again looked a shade green but he has an engine and he battled on well to grab 3rd.
Tara Dylan looked as though she would finish out with the washing, but to her credit she stayed on pluckily from half a mile out. She was left with far too much to do but thankfully she finished 4th and a lot of bookies paid 4 places each way. Us And Them was no match for Le Richebourg but bravely won the battle for 2nd, while Quamino fell early on. There is plenty more quality fare to get stuck into on Day 2 and you can check out my tips below…
The opening 3yo maiden hurdle is a two mile contest and a bumper field of 29 horses will go to post. Joseph O’Brien has been handed a couple of classy flat performers by his Dad and of his two, Sir Erec looks the most interesting.
This Galileo colt was a Listed winner with a rating of 109 on the level and he got to within 2.5L of Stradivarius in a Group 2 at Ascot on his last start in that sphere back in October. If he jumps well he should win this but taking 5/4 about a horse that has never faced a hurdle in public is risky.
|Gordon Elliott won this race a few years back with Flaxen Flare.|
Instead, I will be taking a chance on Ingenuity for Gordon Elliott with Davy Russell in the plate. This fella was a couple of stone inferior to Sir Erec on the flat and his sole win in that discipline came in a 6f 2yo maiden for Jedd O’Keefe.
However, he is by an excellent national hunt sire in Slickly, a stallion that has produced quality jumpers like Call Me Lord, Bertimont and Olofi. Stamina is a worry on the dam side of Ingenuity’s pedigree but if he stays, he could outrun his odds of 20/1.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 12.10-INGENUITY E/W @ 20/1
The second race on the card is a 17f Beginners’ Chase and nine horses will line up at the start. A few of these bring serious hurdling form into the race, including Paloma Blue (15/8), Real Steel (7/2), Moon Over Germany (4/1) and Mitchouka (12/1). They all have Graded form over timber, but so does 16/1 shot Impact Factor and I think he is worth chancing each way in a first time hood.
This fella was beaten half a length by Hardline in a Grade 2 hurdle at Naas earlier this year and that horse has franked that form in no uncertain terms since. He was only 2L behind Paloma Blue in a maiden hurdle at this meeting last year and he was in the process of going close on his second start over fences when falling at the last. If the hood sharpens up his jumping I think he could go well and at 16/1, he is the each way suggestion.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 12.40-IMPACT FACTOR E/W @ 16/1
This Grade 1 2 mile chase has attracted seven horses and it is a proper Christmas cracker. Footpad will be looking to make amends for his fall at Naas last time, as will Great Field who tipped up at Cork. That is hardly ideal preparation coming into a race that will require an exceptional round of jumping at high speed.
|Simply Ned showed there was life left in the old dog yet last time out.|
Ballyoisin brings a big reputation into this race and he is on a mission to complete a five timer. He is obviously a big danger on ground that will suit him perfectly, but after a superb effort behind Sceau Royal at Cheltenham last time, I think Simply Ned is the one they have to beat.
He was rightly awarded this race in the Stewards' room last year with Min demoted to 2nd. This likeable son of Fruits Of Love will relish the nice ground and has career form figures here of 32312. At odds of 16/1 he looks well worth chancing each way against his younger rivals.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.15-SIMPLY NED E/W @ 16/1 NB
We get another festive treat with this 2 mile Grade 1 Novice Hurdle and six will battle it out for the £100k pot. Sancta Simona will be partnered by Barry Geraghty and his confidence is likely to be on the floor after getting beaten on Buveur D’Air at Kempton. In any case, I prefer the chances of Triplicate after his excellent efforts behind Quick Grabim at Fairyhouse last time (Aramon behind) and at Tipperary (Easy Game behind).
I think that form is the best on offer in this race by some distance, particularly when you consider what Easy Game has gone on to do. He was almost 5L behind Triplicate in 3rd at Tipperary and with no Quick Grabim in the field this time, Triplicate can go on to claim a much deserved breakthrough success at the highest level. At odds of 3/1 he is the NAP of the day.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.50-TRIPLICATE WIN @ 3/1 NAP
This 18 runner 2 mile handicap hurdle looks an extremely tricky contest to solve so I am taking a punt on one at huge odds. Veinard is a horse that I have tipped up before and while he has only won once during his career, I am convinced he has another race of this nature in him. He is a hold up sort who needs to be produced on the line, and he saves his best form for Leopardstown.
He was a big eyecatcher on his last run here back in February off a mark of 126, slicing through the field in the last three furlongs to finish 7th of 28. He was beaten just under 9L by the winner but he was only 1L off Tudor City (5th). He is 7lb better off with that rival today off a mark of 123 and if Elliott has him ready to rock on his return from a break a big run could be on the cards at odds of 25/1.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 2.25-VEINARD E/W @ 25/1 (5 PLACES POWERS)
The 24.5f Paddy Power Handicap Chase is always a fiercely contested heat and this year is no exception. A massive field of 28 chasers will take their chances and luck always plays a part in races of this nature. Scoir Mear creeps in off a feather weight for Thomas Mullins and JP McManus and Conor Maxwell will ride.
|Scoir could soar upped in trip on good ground.|
I have been waiting a long time for this fella to tackle 3 miles on decent ground. I tipped him up at Cheltenham in 2017 in the 21f Coral Cup and he flew home for 5th, 6L behind Supasundae, on the good to soft ground.He was sent chasing last season and most of his runs came over shorter. His sole run at 23f was on bottomless ground and that was never going to suit.
I thought he shaped well at Navan last time behind today’s favourite De Name Escapes Me and he is 14lb better off with that rival now. Thomas Mullins has his string in great form and at odds of 33/1 Scoir Mear is worth chancing each way (7 places).
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.00-SCOIR MEAR E/W @ 33/1 (7 PLACES E/W POWERS)
A trappy looking bumper that I won’t be having a bet on.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.30 LEOPARDSTOWN-NO BET
Tuesday, 25 December 2018
The ground is currently described as yielding on the hurdles course at Leopardstown, while on the chase course it is good to yielding. The opening contest is a 21 runner maiden hurdle and a case can be made for quite a few. Vision D’honneur is a fascinating contender on his Irish debut for Gigginstown and Gordon Elliott. He holds some fancy entries, cost £350k and he won his sole start in France by 3.5L. The bookies haven’t missed him though, and he is a best price of just 5/4.
|Jon Ess showed he had potential as a hurdler at Cork.|
Classical Dream brings French Grade 1 hurdling form to the table and he has an experience edge over Vision D’honneur. Dancing On My Own comes into the reckoning on the back of a fine effort last time at Navan, while Entoucas ran well on his last outing at Gowran Park. However, the one that could go well at a big price is Jon Ess for Conor O’Dwyer and Ricky Doyle. On a line through Éclair De Beaufeu (a head behind him at Cork) he has only 3L to find with Dancing On My Own, yielding ground could suit and at odds of 33/1 he is a tentative each way selection in a tough looking heat.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 12.10-JON ESS E/W @ 33/1
Things don’t get any easier in the second race on the card, another 16f maiden hurdle with 18 runners. City Island has won his last three starts, including his hurdling debut last time, but he was disqualified for a positive post-race drug test. He will be looking for compensation here and it is no surprise to see him favourite at 11/8.
To be honest, I can’t really see much value in this race. Raya Time, Defy De Mee and Dallas Des Pictons all look to be priced up correctly to me and while Song Of Namibia is mildly tempting at 14/1, it is too risky to chance backing him first time out over timber. No bet for me, but I do think the favourite City Island is the most likely winner.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 12.40-NO BET
This Grade 2 Juvenile Hurdle is for 3yos only and it has attracted a field of 18 runners. Gordon Elliott holds the key to this contest and two of his entries are battling it out for favouritism. Only a head separated Chief Justice and Coeur Sublime at Fairyhouse in a Grade 3 last time (in that order) and given that the winner is now 4lb better off now it is difficult to see the runner up turning the form around.
|Got Trumped could improve on his fine win last time.|
However, at a nice each way price Got Trumped looks a very interesting contender for Jessie Harrington with Brian Hayes getting a rare ride for the yard. This fella beat Rocky Blue comfortably despite showing signs of greenness last time at Punchestown and he gave the impression that there could be a fair bit more to come. The form of both his hurdle runs looks solid and if he improves again he could go close at odds of 14/1.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.10-GOT TRUMPED E/W @ 14/1 NAP
This novice handicap hurdle has attracted 15 runners but plenty of bookies will be paying four places each way, so shop around. Warnaq won as he liked at Navan and he looks a worthy favourite off 10lb higher. I like one at a juicy price here and I think Tara Dylan could go well for David and Thomas Mullins. This daughter of Dylan Thomas ran better than her finishing position suggests last time out at Fairyhouse.
She travelled well in rear and just couldn’t get into the race when the leaders quickened. She has yet to win over timber, but she won three times on the level and some of her best flat form came at Leopardstown (beaten just over 2L over 13f off 83), including a maiden win. The handicapper has generously dropped her 5lb to 117, David Mullins is back on board and at odds of 20/1 she should go well for each way players.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.40-TARA DYLAN E/W @ 20/1 NB
The first Grade 1 of the Xmas Festival at Leopardstown is a 17f Novice Chase. Disappointingly, only six runners will line up at the start and Mengli Khan is the red hot favourite. Plenty of pundits were waxing lyrical about this fella after his chasing debut but I wasn’t as taken by the performance as some others. He could well prove me wrong and hack up, but I am going to take him on with Us And Them.
|Us And Them could make a bold bid from the front.|
This son of Stowaway produced arguably a career best when lowering the colours of Duca De Thaix at Navan last month, his first run on good ground. The application of a first time tongue tie suggests he may have had some breathing issues when beaten at the same track by Hardline last time. This front runner should be suited by a small field and if Mengli Khan fluffs his lines Us And Them could be the one to benefit. At odds of 20/1 a small each way interest is advised.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 2.20-US AND THEM E/W @ 20/1
The penultimate race at Leopardstown on St Stephens’ Day is a 17f handicap chase. Twelve horses will go to post and Quamino looks an interesting runner for Paul Nolan and Bryan Cooper. This fella remains unexposed over fences and I think he could be well suited by the drop back in trip. He won a Beginners’ Chase on his seasonal comeback at Fairyhouse (21f gd) and he was far from disgraced behind Judgement Day and Kildorrery at Punchestown last time out (20f gd).
This son of Lord Of England won a 2 mile handicap hurdle at Wexford last season and was placed on his next two starts at that distance. I think dropping back to 17f won’t inconvenience him at all and it could help him turn the Kildorrery form around. He makes his handicap debut over fences off a mark of 129 and at odds of 16/1 he could surprise with a big run.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 2.55- QUAMINO E/W @ 16/1
No bet for me in the closing bumper, a race to watch with a view to the future.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.30 LEOPARDSTOWN-NO BET
Sunday, 16 December 2018
The money came for Feel The Noize earlier this week as she was backed from 22/1 into 8/1 at the off. However, she was never able to get into the race after breaking a shade slowly from the gates. She will be making a quick reappearance at Wolverhampton on Monday back up in trip and she is one to keep an eye on. I think she definitely has a race in her at some stage.
Tomorrow the Irish action comes from the Royal County and the feature race is the Grade 2 Navan Hurdle. However, my selection goes in the Grade B handicap hurdle at 1pm and I think Elusive Theatre is massively overpriced at 28/1 for the Crawfords and Patrick Corbett, who claims a valuable 3lb.
This daughter of Elusive Theatre has failed to fire on two starts this season, though she had excuses for both runs. 24f was too far for her on her seasonal comeback at Ayr and she probably needed it from a fitness perspective. She wasn’t disgraced in a Listed heat last time but the combination of good ground and the quality of opposition meant she was always going to be up against it.
This gutsy 7yo mare loves it when the muck is flying and though the ground at Navan is currently described as good to yielding, surely it will soften with Storm Deirdre on the scene. They had a good spill of rain in Navan on Saturday and if the ground is soft or heavy I think Elusive Theatre has a right chance.
She won her bumper here on heavy so she ticks the course form box and she is handicapped to be competitive off a mark of 123. She was beaten less than a length by Captain Redbeard (then rated 139) off 125 on bottomless ground at Ayr last season and she is 2lb lower now. That horse was less than 2L behind Vintage Clouds off 144 in a hot handicap chase at Haydock last month so the form has a solid look to it.
Another cause for optimism is the booking of Patrick Corbett. He has yet to ride this trailblazing mare but he has an eye-catching record when riding for Steven Crawford. From 28 rides he has 3 wins and 9 top four finishes, a frame hitting strike rate of just under 43%. If the ground is heavy I think Elusive Theatre can make a bold bid from the front and at odds of 28/1 (6 places available) she should give each way players a decent run for their money.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.00 NAVAN-ELUSIVE THEATRE E/W @ 28/1 6 PLACES
Thursday, 13 December 2018
It felt like an eternity since our last big priced winner, although we have had some close calls in the past couple of months. Thankfully, good old Harry The Viking ended the drought on Sunday advised at 28/1 and what a performance it was. To see off a horse as good as Calett Mad in the closing stages was some feat for a 13yo and hopefully he stays sound and is back for another crack next year.
|Rae Guest has been amongst the winners.|
On Thursday there is plenty of jumps action to get stuck into, but my only bet of the day goes in the opening 7f Nursery Handicap at Chelmsford. Rae Guest is a trainer I have massive respect for and his string has shown definite signs of hitting form in the last couple of weeks. He has had two winners from seven runners in the past fortnight and I think Feel The Noize could outrun her odds for him at Chelmsford on Thursday.
This well named daughter of Slade Power has displayed glimmers of ability on more than one occasion and I thought she was a big eye catcher at Lingfield in a seller last time. She pulled very hard early and was denied a clear run up the inner, but when switched wide she picked up well and I think more use will be made of her in this race.
She has been held up for the most part on her seven career starts so far and on a couple of occasions she has stayed on well, including here, over 5f and 6f. She kept on well over the minimum trip in a Novice heat back in September and while she was over 7L behind the winner in a handicap here over 6f off 58, she did finish just under 1L in front of a next time out winner in Dancing Jo.
Feel The Noize is now rated 50, 8lb lower than for that mildly promising run here over 6f and 5lb lower than when beaten 4L at Kempton when she didn’t enjoy the clearest of passages. Robert Havlin rides and while he has yet to ride a winner for Rae Guest, he has finished in the first four on four occasions from eight rides.
This filly has a nice draw in stall 3 and I am hoping she is ridden a bit more positively after she proved she stayed a mile last time. If she breaks well and settles I think a big run could be on the cards and at odds of 22/1 (4 places 1/4 odds available) Feel The Noize is worth chancing each way for small stakes in what looks a wide open race.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 5.15 CHELMSFORD-FEEL THE NOIZE E/W @ 22/1 4 PLACES
Sunday, 9 December 2018
I was very disappointed by the run of Triggitas at Sandown for us earlier this week. He jumped violently to the left at almost every fence and you can bet he will be going left handed next time. Amazingly, he still managed to finish last of 6 and we were only one faller away from getting paid, although it would have been a hollow success after that effort.
I was gutted Highland Lodge fell in the Becher Chase as I strongly fancied him to run a big race. I am going to back another old boy in the Borders National at Kelso on Sunday, Harry The Viking for Sandy Thomson with Rachael MacDonald claiming what could be a crucial 5lb. Thomson is going for a four timer in this race having won it in 2014 and 2015 with Neptune Equester and then Harry in 2016.
This likeable son of Sir Harry Lewis is 13 years young now, but he won this race the last time it was run and he was laid out for it last year only for bad weather to cause its cancellation. This fella stays all day so the 32.5f trip will pose no problems and his last two wins came on good to soft ground, so conditions look ideal for him at Kelso.
He ran poorly on his seasonal comeback last month at Carlisle but he likely needed it badly from a fitness perspective and it was probably a spin to put him right for this. He looks a well handicapped horse right now too, 1lb lower than when winning this by 5L in 2016 and 2lb lower than for his last victory at Carlisle just over a year ago.
Sandy Thomson made a slow start to the season but his string is definitely beginning to come to hand. Three of his last ten runners have won and two have placed. He has reported that Harry The Viking has been trained for this race and he couldn’t be any happier with him at home (see here). If Harry still retains the ability of old he could make a mockery of his odds of 28/1 and a small each way interest is advised.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.05 KELSO-HARRY THE VIKING E/W @ 28/1
Thursday, 6 December 2018
Plinth was nowhere to be seen at the business end for us at Fairyhouse last weekend, but he wasn't completely disgraced in 11th. He was beaten 11L for the win and perhaps a step back up in trip is what he needs to get his head back in front as he kept on nicely up the home straight. The horse I like in Friday is hopefully going to appreciate stepping up in trip too.
On Friday I am going to take a chance on one in the 1.55 at Sandown, a 20f Novices’ Handicap Chase. Triggitas, an 8yo son of Double Trigger, is very lightly raced for his age but on his last three outings he has displayed definite signs of ability. Three starts in 2015 were non-descript, but his first run for Paul Webber at Huntingdon last year was a cracking effort.
Triggitas was ridden with a lot of restraint that day, dropped out well in rear for most of the 16f contest. He looked like he would finish a well beaten 4th or 5th as he was pushed into the second last hurdle, but after the last he found his second wind and he finished strongly for 3rd, beaten less than 2L for the win.
His next run for Mr. Webber came in a 2m mile maiden hurdle at Worcester and again, Triggitas was waited with in rear. This time McClernon timed his challenge much better and he was bang there with the winner Psychedelic Funk as they jumped the last. He just got a shade outpaced on the run in, but he kept on well and was only beaten 1.75L off level weights by a horse now rated 137.
Triggitas returned from over a year off with a more than respectable effort on bottomless ground off 115 in a handicap hurdle at Lingfield. He was beaten a long way at the finish in 5th but he shaped well and he is a big horse so he is entitled to strip much fitter with that run under his belt. The booking of Gavin Sheehan looks a positive too (6 wins and 14 top four finishes from 33 rides for this yard).
I think his two runs last year over 2 miles suggested that he would be much better over further, and so does his pedigree. His half brother Exitas is a very useful staying chaser so not only is Triggitas bred to stay the trip, he is also bred to jump a fence. I think he looks a fascinating contender up in trip on his chasing debut back on better ground and if he jumps well, he could surprise with a big run at odds of 33/1.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.55 SANDOWN-TRIGGITAS E/W @ 33/1 (5 PLACES)
Sunday, 2 December 2018
Donna’s Delight ran a nice race at Newcastle earlier, even if he was well behind the front two. Maybe the very soft ground blunted his speed, but he stuck to the task well and I liked how he won the battle for third. He could be an Eider horse in time. It was great to see Buveur D'Air make mincemeat out of Samcro too. I have previewed the four Graded races at Fairyhouse tomorrow for TXODDS (click here). I also fancy one in the big handicap hurdle at 3.10 and at odds of 33/1 Plinth could go well.
|Plinth looks well handicapped off 133.|
Joseph O’Brien’s horses are flying at the moment and it is hardly a surprise given the ammunition he has at his disposal. He runs a couple in this and at massive odds I think Plinth could be worth chancing each way. This 8yo son of Montjeu looks dangerously well handicapped off just 133 and his last two runs over 2 miles were crackers.
He was beaten just over 4L by Bedrock at Tipperary in a Grade 3 off level weights and he went on to trounce Samcro on his next start. His previous start at 16f, off a mark of 135 at Listowel in a hot handicap, was a fine effort too as he finished 4th behind Ballyoisin and he had a couple of today’s opponents in behind.
JJ Slevin has a fine record when riding JP McManus horses trained by Joseph and he did us a huge favour at odds of 40/1 with Tower Bridge this time last season. He wouldn’t want heavy ground, so keep an eye on the weather, but soft ground or better suits and at odds of 33/1 with 5 places available, Plinth is worth chancing e/w for small stakes.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 3.10 FAIRYHOUSE-PLINTH E/W @ 33/1 (5 PLACES)
Saturday, 1 December 2018
I have had to slightly reduce my output on the blog as I am now writing previews for TXODDS on a full time basis. Read my Saturday tips for Newbury by clicking here. However, I will still try to post as often as I can, and I can’t resist having a bet on Donna’s Delight in the 23.5f handicap chase at 13.35 up at Newcastle.
|Sandy and Quona Thomson with stable star Seeyouatmidnight.|
It is Fighting Fifth day there on Saturday and I hope Buveur D’Air’s reign as the top 2 mile hurdler on both sides of the Irish Sea continues. I don’t think he gets anywhere near the credit he deserves in some quarters. I love how he jumps, he has a turn of foot and he showed he had the stomach for a fight on ground far too soft for him when beating Melon at the Festival.
For me, his most scintillating display came on good to soft when he won his first Champion Hurdle. He will get his ground tomorrow and if he is even 90% fit I can see him winning this. However, I am not one for backing horses at 5/4 and that is why I am turning my attention to Donna’s Delight.
This lightly raced 7yo son of Portrait Gallery has won just two of his ten career starts, a bumper and a novice hurdle on soft and heavy ground respectively. However, he has shown decent form on better ground so the good to soft ground at Newcastle shouldn’t pose any problems.
Formerly trained by Keith Reveley, he is now in the hands of shrewd Scottish handler Sandy Thomson. He also runs last time out maiden hurdle winner Caventara in this, and he is just 8/1. However, he is having his first outing of the season and is making his chasing debut, so perhaps he is best watched today.
Donna’s Delight, on the other hand, had a run over 20f at Carlisle to blow away the cobwebs and Thomson’s horses usually come on plenty for their comeback runs. He was badly hampered early and was beaten nearly 40L in 7th, but he is a better horse than that and he will be a lot fitter this afternoon.
This fella is a full brother to Knockanrawley, a horse that stays further than 3 miles and who appreciates nice ground. His owner has always said that his future lay as a staying chaser, and hopefully Donna’s Delight proves him right at Newcastle. I think he is worth chancing each way at odds of 18/1.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.35 NEWCASTLE-DONNA’S DELIGHT E/W @ 18/1