Our resident tipster likes the look of three potential front-runners at Catterick this afternoon.
Today’s sole jumps action is at Catterick and the following three horses all look to hold decent claims.
The 2m juvenile hurdle (12.45pm) lacks strength in depth and the two to concentrate on are Berland and COSMIC STATESMAN, trained by John Ferguson and Richard Fahey respectively. The first-named was rated much higher than his rival on the flat, winning twice, and is sure to have been well schooled for his hurdles debut. However, he was best on a fast surface – both wins came on “good to firm” – and therefore has to prove himself in the soft conditions. Stable form is also a slight concern with several short-priced stablemates turned over of late.
The Fahey runner failed to win on the level but he stayed very well nonetheless and looked a natural over hurdles on his recent debut on heavy ground at Wetherby, where he kept on well to take second behind Akavit with 14 other rivals well beaten off. On that evidence, he can definitely win one of these and given his proven stamina it would be no surprise to see Brian Hughes make plenty use of him around this sharp circuit. Indeed, the partnership could well make all.
The Evan Williams-trained POULANASSY was an all-the-way winner at Sedgefield last time and the five-year-old might be able to follow up in this afternoon’s 2m3f novices’ hurdle (1.45pm). That was a big improvement on previous efforts but it was not unexpected as he was well backed beforehand. It was also encouraging to him really attack his hurdles and then show a willing attitude to hold the runner-up close home.
Still unexposed after just two starts over hurdles and a rare runner from his in-form stable (Ffos Las treble yesterday) at the North Yorkshire track (two winners from nine runners here over the past five seasons), he can get the better of Captain Bocelli and Rob Robin, who represent the powerful stables of Philip Hobbs and Paul Nicholls respectively but don’t look anything out of the ordinary on racecourse evidence. The former is feared most but this is his hurdles debut and he’s been off since September.
It pays to be up with the pace here and I can see Danny Cook giving BOLLIN LANE a positive ride from the front in the 2m handicap chase (2.50pm). The eight-year-old was placed a couple of times over hurdles without winning, but the two-time point winner promises to be much better over fences and found only Aregra too good on his second chase start at the track last time out. He led two out that day before being headed at the last by the eventual winner, so today’s three furlongs shorter trip is in his favour.
George Moore’s Tomorrow’s Legend looks a big danger after finishing runner-up on his last two starts, though he has to concede 12lb to the selection and may need a stiffer test. I’m struggling to make much of a case for anything else and it’s a race that won’t take a great deal of winning.