National Hunt Flat races have infamously low prize funds. This is partially to do with their status as training races. Bumpers are specifically designed to be educational tools for younger horses. With the rising costs of transporting horses to the races, every journey is an expensive one. Michael and David Easterby are sending one runner on the 315-mile round-trip to Warwick on Tuesday. The training duo are yet to have a runner at Warwick since operating under a joint license. It’s a long way to go for a bumper and a share of the £5,000 prize pot. Check out our free tips page for daily content across British and Irish racing.
Ashkhabad (100-1, Paddy Power) cost a fair amount as a yearling, fetching 130,000 guineas. She was then picked up for just 1,000 guineas last December. Michael and David Easterby’s filly has a solid pedigree and could do well in this sphere. Her sire won both the English and Irish Derbies, a strong stayer at 1m4f. On the other side of her pedigree, her grand dam was runner-up in the Fillies Mile, suggesting there is plenty of stamina on that side of the family too.
Just four-years-old, Ashkhabad makes her racecourse debut here. Connections could have found a bumper to start her off in anywhere, especially closer to home. The fact that they haven’t done so would indicate that this is deliberate placement with a plan in mind.
Another significant factor is the booking of the champion jockey, Brian Hughes. Booking the champion is distinct show of intent and it certainly could be a situation to keep an eye on. We may find out more from the market but the fact that she runs here is fascinating in itself.
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