Our resident tipster is looking forward to seeing some classy sorts in action this afternoon over jumps.
The dry weather and prevailing fast ground is causing National Hunt trainers to hold back their better horses, but rain is on the way.
Whether it reaches Plumpton in time for the opening novices’ hurdle (due off 2.25pm) remains to be seen – I’m not going to even attempt to forecast the weather! But either way conditions should still be ‘safe’ enough for the Paul Nicholls-trained MR MIX to make his eagerly-awaited British debut.
He finished third on his debut in a Listed Hurdle at Auteuil in September 2014 and was subsequently snapped up by his current connections for a considerable sum no doubt. He has a lot to live up to as the likes of Irish Saint, Ptit Zig and Saphir Du Rheu were bought out of the same race before sent to Nicholls to train and the vibes coming out of the stable suggest he could be very good. He’s been at Ditcheat for over a year now, so he should be nicely acclimatised and ready to rock and roll for his in-form stable, with Sam Twiston-Davies booked.
I’m hoping we can get to back him at a decent price (2/1 or above would be acceptable) and the presence of Harry Fry’s hat-trick seeking General Glinger, who carries a double penalty, will help in that respect, while Alan King’s dual bumper winner Board Of Trade should also attract some interest. It’s an above average novice for the time of year and the track, admittedly, but I’m hopeful that the selection can prove a class apart.
Alan King has been in flying form under both codes of late and he supplies the day’s second bet, MISS CRICK, who carries a penalty in the mares’ bumper (5.15pm). I generally like to take on penalised horses in these type of races as it’s no easy task giving the weight away, but I’m going to make an exception with the selection as she could be well above average.
An impressive winner of a Newbury bumper on her debut in February, when beating 15 rivals and taking on male horses, she may have been over the top when disappointing in a Listed bumper at Aintree on her next start. Given a nice break since, she’s reportedly been pleasing her trainer this autumn and the plan is to take in a Listed fillies’ bumper at the Cheltenham Paddy Power meeting next before embarking on a hurdles campaign. She’s clearly regarded as a useful tool in this sphere and, while I’ve the utmost respect for the Anthony Honeyball-trained newcomer Midnight Tune, who will help to make the market, I think she’ll win.
Fontwell 2.25, Mr Mix @ best morning-line odds
Fontwell 5.15, Miss Crick @ best morning-line odds