Our racing expert has three to back at Newbury.
A wind operation and a patient approach from connections has clearly done the trick for NEW QUAY as he fairly bolted up at Ascot five days ago, winning by ten lengths despite being eased close home.
His trainer Dan Skelton described him as a ‘lovely horse for the future’ in the post-race interview and mentioned a ‘nice race’ at the BetVictor meeting (Cheltenham, December) and the Lanzarote as possible targets for him this term, with any plans to go chasing with the former point winner on hold until next term.
First things first, though, today’s 2m handicap hurdle for conditional jockeys – he has Bridget Andrews in the plate – looks his for the taking under a 7lb penalty. Even under that burden, he’s officially 10lb well-in, having gone up that much for future races, and he can surely rate a good deal higher in this sphere.
The market should prove the best guide to the 2m novices’ hurdle but one that should go well is Evan Williams’ BOLD PLAN. Bought for £195,000 after winning his sole start between the flags in Ireland, he made a promising start to his career on these shores when making Harry Fry’s Samarquand pull out all the stops in a bumper at Wincanton in April, when going down by a head.
The form hasn’t really been tested yet as the winner (well entered up later this week) and third have not been seen out since. However, the race featured some expensive purchases and having gone a good gallop, it was impressive how the first two quickened clear in the straight.
On that evidence, the son of Jeremy has the speed to win over this sort of trip over hurdles and that his trainer is running him here, rather than one of the smaller tracks, suggest to me that he’s considered to be one of the stable’s nicer novice prospects for this season. Some market support would be encouraging given his 200-day layoff.
The 2m6f beginners’ chase is an absolute belter with some high-class hurdles running over fences in public for the first time. La Bague Au Roi was just about the best of them over the smaller obstacles and she benefits from the mares’ allowance, but both Thomas Campbell and Lostintranslation have the potential to better chasers and hurdlers and it’s a race I’d rather watch than bet on.
Plenty of the 13 runners in the 2m4f handicap chase are having their first run back and while it would be wrong to discount these out of hand, it could pay to side with one who has had the benefit of an outing already this season.
Of the candidates, I quite like the look of Colin Tizzard’s SILVERHOW as he showed progressive form in his first season over fences, winning twice at around this trip, and should be all the better for his reappearance run at Chepstow last month.
That was in a quality staying handicap (2m7f) won in a good time by The Young Master and, having made much of the early running, he understandably got tired and trailed home in tenth, with his jockey not giving him a hard time.
Now dropping in grade and trip, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him bounce back and resume his progress, with decent odds available on that happening.
All odds were correct at time of posting.