Due to pressure of time and other commitments I’ve not had the chance to follow this week’s bumper action in much detail so this blog is more of a random catch up on events in the bumper sphere and novice hurdle action.
It was very pleasing to see one of this blog’s stars, Wilde Blue Yonder, make his hurdling debut at Newbury’s three day meeting. I was really impressed with his gritty determination to win what was a well contested event. Seedling, another previously mentioned in this blog ran on well to grab second improving markedly from his hurdling debut from the Phillip Hobbs trained Tiqris. The latter hadn’t previously crossed my radar but I was impressed with him, lacking the race fitness of the other two, he looked in the process of giving Wilde Blue Yonder a real race before weakening out of things late on as lack of peak fitness told. He’s one for the notebook so long as all remains well. A couple of other useful bumper sorts in Vazaro Delafayette and Chase the Wind were well beaten on this occasion but are worth bearing in mind for the future.
The previous day at Newbury, Nicky Henderson’s Volnay De Thaix made it four wins from five when winning as a 1/16 shot should! The Tolworth hurdle has been muted as his next likely race. Whilst in the bumper, Harry Fry’s Thomas Brown, who was well backed, showed the benefit of his first racecourse appearance behind Oscarteea to win in taking style. Fry had won this last year with Oscar Rock.
As I Am ran right away with the mares listed novices hurdle at Newbury forging clear in the final furlong. She looks to be very progressive
Over at Newcastle on Saturday, Oscar Rock was running for his new trainer in his second novice hurdle looking to maintain his unbeaten record, but in the end, he had to settle for second with the Ian Williams trained Ballyalton coming out on top. Both look horses to remain on the right side of.
Also at Newcastle, there was a good performance in the final race, a national hunt novice hurdle with a taking novice hurdle debut from the Nicky Henderson trained Full Shift who won a West Country point-to-point in February. He outgunned the more experienced dual bumper winner, Clever Cookie, who was making his second start over hurdles. Both are nice prospects and ones for the notebook.
A rare (virtual) visit to Ireland for this blog. The Royal Bond novices hurdle looked a really good race beforehand with several previous winners with good reputations doing battle. I was impressed with the winner, The Tullow Tank, who had been supplemented for the race, he looks a chasing type and yet had the speed to win over 2 miles against some stern opposition. Third placed Arctic Fire went into the notebook, having looked unlucky in running, once finding a clear passage he finished with a real rattle.
I was impressed with Analifet who sauntered to victory in the opening juvenile hurdle and hardly looked to have had a race when winning jockey Ruby Walsh was being interviewed by Matt Chapman.
I missed seeing Shaneshill win the previous day but it was interesting to read this week that Willie Mullins said ‘It’s hard to think I’ll have a better bumper horse this year’
Finally, on a personal note, I am likely to be at Aintree on Saturday assuming that Rose of the Moon runs in the Becher chase. He runs well fresh and this has been the plan for some time. He looks nicely handicapped with Jake Greenall’s claim taking off an extra 3lbs, though he has only had four runs over fences. It will be fascinating to see how he gets on, but it looks a competitive renewal, and my own feeling is we may be flying a bit too high and 25/1 probably reflects that! I like the look of Boston’s Angel, if David Pipe has worked the oracle. He has G1 winning chase form and was travelling well in the Festival cross country race before running out of stamina.