IN SUMMARY: A race well worth watching and sure to be full of future winners but it may be worth taking a chance on impressive bumper winner SIMPLY THE BETTS to come out on top on his hurdling debut. Well supported that day, his stable are in hot form lately which is a positive and although the likes of Black Op, Lostintranslation, and World Premier are all winners waiting to happen, today could be his day under jockey Harry Bannister.
1 ABBEY STREET – Two places in point-to-points at Inch and Curraheen saw the son of Asian Heights try his luck over hurdles for the first time when twelfth of sixteen over half a mile further at Chepstow, beaten ninety lengths and never getting in to the race. That was his first run in five months so he may be more race-fit this afternoon but he has to do a lot better than that to get involved and may well need further to be seen at his best.
2 ADMIRAL BARRATRY – Finished second over hurdles on his debut at Enghien in France when beaten two and a half lengths by the classy Invicter but he is yet to repeat that effort in two starts since, unseating at Haydock and finishing an eighteen length fifth at Fontwell over further than this in October, weakening two out. Dropped back in trip he should do a lot better and looks a major player here.
3 BLACK OP – Connections paid out £210,000 after the six-year-old won a point-to-point at Loughanmore and paid back some of that when winning a decent Doncaster bumper in February. Outclassed at Aintree on his only other run so far in a Grade One at the Grand National meeting he seems sure to have a future over hurdles and eventually fences and can get involved in the finish here.
4 DASSETT GOLD – Glimmers of promise in two bumpers so far but beaten thirteen lengths in to fifth at Warwick last time out when weakening close home in May and could need to be found a less exacting contest before he gets his head in front over hurdles barring some very serious improvement. Webber stable are without a recent winner and the four-year-old would be a surprise winner here.
5 DEBACLE – Unraced son of Bach and a half-brother to point to point winner Premier Blanc. Looks an unlikely winner over this trip and close to impossible to make any case for unless the market speaks in his favour.
6 KAPCORSE – Looks to be the owners second string with Barry Geraghty on board World Premier but wasn’t given a hard race at Exeter on his first run for Paul Nicholls. Sure to benefit from that run he represents a yard with a 22% success rate in the last two weeks and could still run a big race with the expected improvement.
7 LOSTINTRANSLATION – Only a matter of time before he starts winning over hurdles after finishing second at Chepstow in October and then here at Newbury in November when running in to the potentially smart Claimantakinforgan and going down by two and a quarter lengths. This race looks slightly easier on paper and he won’t be far away at the finish for Colin Tizzard granted a clear round.
8 PEUR DE RIEN – Put in a promising enough effort on his first run in a Worcester bumper when fading late on to be beaten twenty-one lengths and going in to many a notebook. Likely to need fences to be seen at his very best in the years ahead but could well pick up a hurdle or two before then for Oliver Sherwood and well worth a watch this afternoon for future reference on his hurdling debut.
9 PRESENT RANGER – A full-brother to 2011 Grand National winner Ballabriggs and bought for a sensible £40,000 after finishing second to River Myth in a Milborne St Andrew point-to-point. Could be interesting but could also find one or two of these have a bit too much speed for him over this trip, but a decent recruit for the Dan Skelton stable and not easily dismissed on his first run over hurdles.
10 SECOND TIME AROUND – Scraped home in a Market Rasen bumper in May running on late on after being hampered but failed to build on that when a fifteen and a half-length fourth at Sandown on his first run in six months but sure to improve for that and could well get involved in the finish now for top trainer Alan King and jockey Wayne Hutchinson.
11 SIMPLY THE BETTS – An interesting option with the one run and one win in a Market Rasen bumper when only needing to be pushed out to land the bets that saw him sent off the 7/4 favourite. Harry Whittington has his string in fine fettle with four winners from just the eleven runners for a 36% strike rate and he is certainly one of the more intriguing contenders.
12 THE MANUSCRIPT – Hard to argue any case for at present after a thirty-six-length defeat on his debut at Uttoxeter and a fifty-six-length last of nine over course and distance last time out when tailed off. Might well do better in time but on what he has shown so far he has very little chance of success this afternoon.
13 WORLD PREMIER – Presumably the J P McManus number one based on jockey bookings and with the Ben Pauling yard on fire with six winners from just the eighteen recent runners for a one in three success rate. Won his only race so far in a Warwick bumper when coming home by eight lengths despite looking as green as grass and can only improve for that experience, and looks a major player here on his hurdles debut.