Noel Meade’s Irish raider A Genie In Abottle (9s from 12s at BetVictor) was the early mover for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Trophy the most valuable jumps handicap in the calendar save the Grand National.
I’m also looking forward to seeing Friday’s Novice Chase clash between the top-class hurdlers Yanworth and Willoughby Court. The former (4/5 at BetVictor) fell at Exeter on his latest start while the latter jumped violently out to his left when making a successful chase debut at Huntingdon. Newbury should suit Willoughby Court much better and 2/1 at BetVictor looks a very fair price.
At Wetherby, the recent Aintree winner Captain Chaos jumped well in his first time blinkers last time although it was a race that may not have taken too much winning. Three Ways (12.55) is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time for Jamie Snowden and I thought he ran really well at Kempton in a match with Give Me A Copper on his chase debut.
The selection will have to improve his jumping this afternoon, but he certainly has an engine and receives weight from Captain Chaos. The hope is that intensive schooling and the headgear will work the oracle for Three Ways.
The booking of Brian Hughes for Reverant Cust looks significant given the horse ran with promise over today’s C&D on his reappearance but Away For Slates (2.30) wasn’t beaten far on his reappearance following a 600-day break and is entitled to come on for that experience.
At Hereford, Miss Night Owl is sure to make the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle a decent test and the hope is that Olly Murphy’s Undefined Beauty (2.40) can land her hat-trick despite stepping up in grade and down in class.
Peculiar Places (3.45) cost connections £100,000 having finished runner up in a Market Rasen Bumper back in April for Irish handler Ronald O’Leary and Warren Greatrex has booked champion jockey Richard Johnson for his British debut. As a son of Presenting today’s forecast good ground should suit and he must go close in today’s finale.
At Punchestown Paloma Blue (12.20) can take the opener for Henry de Bromhead having finished third on his hurdles debut over a longer trip and he should not be inconvenienced by the return to two miles this afternoon. The selection finished third to the ill-fated Fayonagh in Punchestown’s Champion Bumper back in the spring and it will be disappointing if he cannot break his maiden over timber this afternoon.
The 2m 6f Maiden Hurdle looks an informative contest with the vote going to Minella Fair (12.50) for Noel Meade who will be ridden by Jonathan Moore who has recently returned to Ireland having had a frustrating period in Britain. The selection finished second in his first three Bumpers before scoring at Limerick stepped up to an extended two-and-a-quarter miles last time. The selection is a brother of Time For Rupert who was just short of top class in his day for Paul Webber but loved a thorough test of stamina.
There is a listed race at Kempton this evening over a mile-and-a-half and I hope to see Red Verdon (6.40) go one better than when runner up in a similar contest earlier in the month. The selection had to check his run and switch back to the inside last time on his first start at the track, and the excellent PJ McDonald keeps the ride for Ed Dunlop.
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