Race Time: 2.50pm Meeting: Taunton Day: Wednesday 30th December 2015 Full Race Name: Happy New Year From Totepool Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Listed Race) Class One
For a Wednesday afternoon, the declarations for this race are of a surprisingly high standard and the final field seems sure put on quite a show and we may even travel all the way to Taunton just to see them in the flesh. Nothing comes with a guarantee in this game as we all know by now, especially when we are talking about the Willie Mullins runners, but Myska is running and has to be our first port of call for her all conquering stable. Owned by the Supreme Horse Racing Club, the daughter of Presenting has won both her career starts so far, starting with a bumper at Clonmel last April and followed up with a maiden hurdle victory at Thurles over two and three quarter miles in November. Both wins were at odds on so she is yet to run unbacked, and although we have to wonder about her back at two miles today and whether she has the pace to deal with some of these at the minimum trip, she did so in her bumper and if she wins today, an almost unlimited list of options unfurl before her both at Cheltenham and elsewhere.
Trainer Oliver Sherwood is a wonderful communicator and very open with both the media and the public about his plans, so we hope he gets a big run out of Surtee Du Berlais who has done nothing wrong over hurdles with wins over this trip at Warwick and Uttoxeter. She doesn’t seem to have that electrifying turn of foot that we associate with a top class horse but beauty is as beauty does and she deserves a step up in class so they can see just how good she could be though we suspect that a place is sadly the best on offer for her today.
With the Harry Fry team is such fine fettle of late we need a closer look at Jessber’s Dream who has won her last two races at Lingfield and Exeter, though on softer going and over further to boot. She is equally hard to assess with any accuracy as she likes to be brought from off the pace to go past the tiring front runners and win going away, and as a ferocious early pace seems highly likely in this field she may yet be able to bring her extra stamina in to play as they stream over the last, and is not without a chance if in the same sort of form as last time out.
With the Paul Nichols yard going through a rough patch by their remarkably high standards (thirty-four runners and just the four winners in the past two weeks at the time of writing, including six beaten favourites), it should be interesting to see how Lifeboat Mona does now she is allowed to take her chance. She is another who absolutely bolted up on her hurdling debut, this time by five lengths hard held from Jully Les Buxy at Wincanton, but again over further (this time two miles five), and we wonder why they are even considering dropping her this far in trip – unless they know something we don’t, she exhibits a lot more stamina than speed and ought to find a hand full of these way too quick for her over this trip.
Lastly for the early pass, and how about Ruby Rambler from the Lucy Wadham yard – after all, at least she is (currently) a specialist two miler. Two wins out of three attempts over hurdles at Towcester and Southwell and a third to the high class Tea In Transvaal have seen her rated 135, which is the highest in the race (though beware, most of the others are yet to get a rating so that means precious little), and perhaps deservedly so. Last time out she beat favourite Western Breeze by a very easy nine lengths eased down which was pretty impressive as she was giving the runner up ten pounds, and she could well end up as the value call as we suspect she would be a lot shorter price were she in the care of a Henderson or a Nicholls etc.