Our resident tipster likes the look of four runners this afternoon, with his nap running in the bumper at Fontwell.
Philip Hobbs doesn’t have many runners at Musselburgh at it’s a fair trek from his Somerset base, so his two runners at the track this afternoon are clearly of interest.
He’s run just three horses here previously, one of which won, and BRISE VENDEENNE could be the first leg of a double this afternoon in the mares’ maiden hurdle (due off 1.30pm). Bought out of Nick Williams’ yard for £100,000 after finishing third in a Listed hurdle at Aintree last December, she beat all bar the highly regarded Hollies Pearl when making her hurdles debut at Chepstow last month and this looks a far easier assignment. Given her pedigree – she’s by Dom Alco, a strong influence for stamina – she’ll want further in time, but she can certainly win over this trip if Richard Johnson makes plenty use of her.
Johnson gave VILLAGE VIC a cracking ride to win at Wetherby three weeks ago and he can steer the gelding to another success in the 2m4f handicap chase at the Scottish track (3.30pm) off just a 4lb higher mark. The eight-year-old has largely been campaigned over shorter and, while he was impressive when winning at Newbury last season, he didn’t really kick on from that as well as could be expected. However, the step up to this trip was clearly what he needed and, off his current low perch of 129, he should be able to win a couple more of these before the handicapper gets his measure.
This is the time of year that Venetia Williams traditionally starts to churn out the winners and the 12/1 success of Cold March at Ascot on Saturday has duly been followed by three more since. She sends out just the one runner this afternoon in the shape of ABUNDANTLY and the six-year-old is taken to continue the good work of her stablemates in the 2m3f mares’ handicap hurdle at Fontwell (2.40pm). Formerly decent on the flat, she’s already won twice in this sphere and showed she can go well fresh when winning on heavy ground at Taunton in January after a year off. The step up to this trip could bring about further improvement given she stayed 1m6f on the level and ground conditions here are suitably soft.
There are several promising types in the field for the closing bumper at the Sussex track and that should ensure we get a decent price on my idea of the winner, the Alan King-trained WILLIAM H BONNEY. He was second on his only run in a bumper last season and the horse that beat him just over two lengths, Mister Miyagi, franked the form by winning on his hurdles debut at Cheltenham last month. King does particularly well with his runners in this sphere and should know when he has a good one on his hands, so when he says the selection is “working very well” (gleaned from a recent Stable Tour) you have to sit up and take notice. I make the four-year-old my nap of the day.
Musselburgh 1.30, Brise Vendeenne @ 4/7 with a welcome bonus at BetVictor
Fontwell 2.40, Abundantly @ 10/3 BetVictor
Musselburgh 3.30, Village Vic @ 7/4 BetVictor
Fontwell 4.10, William H Bonney @ 2/1 Betfair