Flat-Out For The New Campaign
The curtain finally fell on the UK National Hunt season, on Saturday. Congratulations must go to Paul Nicholls, who secured the Champion Trainer title at the eleventh-hour. Willie Mullins put up a tremendous fight, although both yards looked out on their feet yesterday. Sprinter Sacre was the undoubted star of the afternoon and the return of Nicky Henderson’s Champion Chaser has been the real story of an incredible campaign.
Dancer Will Get To Grips With Rock
Sunday will be relatively quiet, on the domestic front, with just 2 UK meetings taking place. Musselburgh’s 7 races begin at 2.00, with a 1m maiden. Tawdea gives weight away, to a quintet of 3-year-olds, but still looks the most likely winner.
Lopes Dancer has 6 races under his belt and looks ready to finally pick up a win, in the 3.00. He finished 2nd behind Approaching Squall, at Hamilton in June, although took a step back when weakening in the final furlong at Newcastle. However, there was a lot to like about his performance at Pontefract where he stayed on well to finish runner-up for a 2nd time. Rockwood, who has already bagged a trio of 2016 victories, looks the main threat.
Noodles Hungry For More Success
Noodles Blue Boy is a wily old campaigner and is taken to hold sway, in the 4.00. Ollie Pears ‘ Makbul-sired runner last won in late September, beating Tadalavil by over 3 lengths at this venue. Robert Dodsworth is again given steering duties and the partnership looks very solid. Both Something Lucky and Alpha Delphini should run big races, while Rothesay Chancer has a fantastic record at Musselburgh.
Classy Newcomer To Thrive At Thirsk?
Another maiden gets matters underway at Thirsk (1.50), where there is no shortage of hype surrounding David O’Meara’s debutant Alsvinder. He already holds a Commonwealth Cup entry and much is clearly expected of this one (the dam is the high-class Brazilian, Notting Hill). Richard Fahey’s Sannadh looks the value bet, given his relative experience.
The 3.20 will be a much more competitive affair and the return of Bapak Asmara will alert cannier punters. This will be the first time he has raced, since winning twice in the Summer (Thirsk and Haydock). The Haydock victory came at the expense of Snow Cloud, who finished 2015 with 2 smart wins of her own.
Dandy Nicholls’ pair of Pearl Acclaim and Apricot Sky should both appeal to each-way bettors, although Michael Herrington’s Mishaal looks a more likely winner of this 5f handicap. He disappointed in his final 3 races of 2015, but showed glimpses of his earlier form when having his first outing of the year at Kempton in March. With Spring in full-flourish, the Kheleyf-sired runner may be coming into bud again.
Bocca Back For Listed Irish Contest
There’s Listed action at Gowran Park, where Dermot Weld’s Discipline will look to follow-up her debut victory on the same course. She finished 7.5 lengths ahead of her nearest rival, but didn’t really beat a great deal. This looks a much truer test and Bocca Baciata should push her all the way.
While Jessica Harrington’s inmate disappointed in Listed company, at the Curragh, she had already won a Group 3 contest there last Summer and won the Listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan last Spring. That race was won by Legatissimo, in 2014. Ebayya also has claims, although the short trip is a concern.
Black-Type Races In France & South Africa
Today’s when having a RaceBets account really pays off. Black-type encounters are being held in France (Listed Prix Finlande and G3 Prix de Barbeville, both at Chantilly) and Scottsville in South Africa (both the Sledgehammer and the Scarlet Lady are also Listed). There’s also the G3 Zimbabwe Derby, at Borrowdale.
G1 Action In Hong Kong & Singapore
In Hong Kong, the G3 Queen Mother Cup warms things up nicely for the G1 QEII Cup, at Sha-Tin. Ryan Moore partners Aidan O’Brien’s Highland Reel in the big race and they have a very good chance of winning.
The G2 Singapore Classic and the G1 Lion City Cup are on the superb card at Kranji, while other Listed/Group races are being held in Spain, Italy, Turkey and India.
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