An interesting nine runner Juveline Hurdle is the opener for Warwick’s Thursday card, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Hestina receives a stone off her two likely rivals and has to be respected, but DON BERSY should be able to give that weight away to go back to back. Although a faller over C&D on hurdling debut, he made amends when beating the smart Coeur De Lion at Sandown earlier this month and has scope for further progress with conditions to suit. Aiden Coleman takes the ride as he looks to boost his Festival credentials, though Dino Velvet will be no easy challenger to shrug off, he doesn’t however look progressive which is a big concern.
1 DINO VELVET – Useful on the flat and has transferred ability to hurdling, though he’s not looking particularly progressive. He won on his second hurdling start at Sandown in December (1m 7f, Good to Soft), though that was a much easier test and he was no match for Grade 1 opposition when 28 lengths behind Defi Du Seuil at Chepstow in the Festive Period (2m, Soft). Will need to take another step up despite going down in class but has to be considered a key player and is respected.
2 DON BERSY – Fell on hurdling debut over C&D in December when making several mistakes which lead to it, but he did make amends when winning well at Sandown in January (1m 7f, Soft), beating the useful Coeur De Lion. That was a much improved effort and he displayed a willing attitude when hard pressed on the flat, always doing enough to hold his rival. Has scope for further progress with the ground in his favour, and if jumping better than on his last visit to this venue he could be very hard to catch, so has to be respected.
3 ALCANAR – Modest maiden on the flat and was 25 lengths behind Don Bersy on hurdling debut at Sandown a few weeks ago (1m 7f, Soft), making many mistakes before staying on into a clear third before two out. If ridden more prominently and jumping more fluidly it is not inconceivable to see him getting closer to that rival this time around, and if this turns into a stamina test, from what he showed on hurdling debut, he should be brought into play. Likely to be only fighting for places but is an interesting contender if improving on his second run over timber.
4 ARISTOCLES – Winner on the flat at a low level and hasn’t shown any inspiring form over hurdles thus far, finishing a poor fifth at Fontwell in December (2m 1f, Good), well beaten. Hard to see him playing a role in this today with the softer conditions not exactly a gift and he’s best watched.
5 BANFF – Modest maiden on the flat in Ireland for John Joesph Murphy and was struggling from a early stage when finishing a remote sixth of eight at Hereford on hurdling debut a few weeks ago (2m, Heavy). Displayed little to no promise in that run and it is impossible to see him threatening today, and is dismissed.
6 BLACK BUBLE – 125/1 for hurdling debut and finished tailed off at Sandown a few weeks ago, beaten a distance by Don Bersy and Alcanar (1m 7f, Soft). Was keen that day but its hard to see him getting anywhere close to those rivals who have much more scope for progress and he is likely to be more at home over longer trips, so is best left alone.
7 JOHN PERRY – Very poor maiden for Rod Millman on the flat, struggling to beat a rival in all of his seven runs on the level. His pedigree gives no indication as to whether he’ll take to obstacles but nonetheless, he’s a very unlikely candidate and a likely big odds outsider on his hurdling bow.
8 LANDIN – Fairly useful on the flat when in Germany for the Schiergen yard and has joined Seamus Mullins for his hurdling debut with Jeremiah McGrath taking the ride. Certainly the most likely first time out candidate though its hard to gauge his level of ability against others with that German form. Market should be informative and show the confidence towards him, but could certainly be an Each Way angle into the race if taking well to obstacles.
9 HESTINA – Won a Class 3 fillies’ handicap when on the flat for Peter Chapple-Hyam and has joined the Skelton yard for her jumping career. Although very poor on hurdling debut at Aintree in December, it was in an listed race and was certainly not an easy introduction, though she did go some way to making amends when second at Doncaster later in the month (2m, Good to Soft). It is likely she is capable of much better and should improve with time, and she also does have a stone weight pull with the front two in the market which is a huge help. Cannot be underestimated as she goes against the boys for the first time over obstacles and will likely put up a good fight.