Perth always put on a decent fixture over the summer jumping season and today is no exception. This looks like an intriguing contest for the £3,249 first prize, despite the small field including Gordon Elliott’s Skeaping from Ireland and winning point-to-pointer Hey Listen to name just two. See our full race preview and selection below for the 2.05pm at Perth this afternoon.
IN SUMMARY: Skeaping looks far too short on his achievements to date and the better value lies with the Aidan Coleman ridden AN FEAR CIUIN who has a touch of class about him after plenty of wins on the flat. He can put his experience to good use here to come home in front of Gordon Elliott’s gelding.
1 AN FEAR CIUIN – The winner of five races on the flat – two for David Wachman in Ireland and three for Richard Ford – the six-year-old has had eight races over hurdles now without success, but has placed in four of them. Last time out he finished fourth to Ebony Rose here over two-and-a-half miles, however he drops back in trip this afternoon. He won over two miles on the flat so he may well find that this trip is ideal and can put his experience advantage to good use this afternoon.
2 BURLINGTON BERT – The son of Califet has his first run for local trainer Jean McGregor this afternoon after winning a couple of bumpers at Warwick and Stratford when in the care of Warren Greatrex. He did have the one run over hurdles for his old trainer when a well beaten third at Bangor over this sort of trip when sent off the 11/10 favourite. However, that was in November 2016 and it seems a big ask to win this after nine months off for a stable without a winner since the 2009-10 season.
3 HEY LISTEN – A winner at Friars Haugh in a three-and-a-quarter mile point-to-point, the five-year-old was last seen at Hexham when pulled up in a three mile maiden hurdle when tailed off; the drop back to the minimum trip seems to be a strange decision by trainer Lucinda Russell. His overall profile appears to be based on stamina and it seems unlikely that he will have the speed to cope with some of these. Nevertheless, Derek Fox may be instructed to try to make all the running over this trip to turn it into a test, although he seems unlikely to be good enough a big starting price is expected.
4 SIR TOMMY – Maurice Barnes’s gelding has course experience after running here on his last two starts, with a 44 length fourth over half a mile further before he was pulled up over this course and distance last time out. Yet to get within 15 lengths of the winner in eight starts, others appeal considerably more. He would be a surprise winner in this field, even for a stable with one win from just the seven runners in the last two weeks.
5 SKEAPING – Sent over from Ireland by Gordon Elliott who has his string in fine fettle, with four winners from his last 26 runners (15%), the four-year-old son of Excellent Art looks to have some decent overall form compared to his rivals. Yet to win after ten starts over hurdles, he was only beaten a neck here over half a mile further in August when trying to give 12 pounds to Ebony Rose. If he can repeat that run under Richard Johnson today he should be there or thereabouts at the finish.
6 STRAIT OF MAGELLAN – Nicky Richards sends his gelding back into action after more than six months off the track, but he does look the sort to go well after a break and could run a big race. Just the five starts over hurdles have seen him finish second twice – one each at Market Rasen and Ayr – but he never really threatened the winner on either occasion and needs to do much better this season. He did win a maiden and a handicap on the flat when trained in Newmarket by Michael Bell so has plenty of ability if he can be taught to transfer that to the winter game. That said, the stable are going through a quiet patch and a win here may be beyond him, even with a first-time tongue tie.
7 NUOVA SCUOLA – Her first ever run in public over hurdles but she remains a maiden on the flat after six starts, with a seventh of eight at Ayr over a mile and seven when last seen in August. Just one run saw her get within ten lengths of the winner (a nine-and-three-quarter length ninth of 12, again at Ayr) and even Jim Goldie may struggle to get a big run out of her here, let alone a winning one.