Childrens List posted the first noteworthy performance of last weekend at Belharbour when running out the easy winner of the Four Year Old Maiden at the CountyClare venue. The son of Presenting tracked long time leader Capbreton prior to leading approaching the home straight and quickening up well on the soft ground for a five length success. This was one of the most impressive performances seen so far this season and the time for the 2m4f event suggests that Childrens List should be well up to scoring in a bumper before the season is out.
Gwanako registered his second success of the season for trainer Rosemary Loxton and jockey Megan Nicholls when running out the very easy winner of the Ladies Open at Milborne St. Andrew and he looks capable of taking a sub-three mile Hunter Chase in the Spring under his novice pilot should connections opt to take that route.
Berties Dream looks to be Foxhunters bound following his victory in the Ladies Open event at North Carlton on Sunday. Now with Lauren Braithwaite the blinkered gelding justified odds-on favouritism by twenty lengths under Gina Andrews and the pair look set to be reunited at Cheltenham in a months time.
Thursday’s Hunter Chase at Huntingdon looks likely to result in a match following Pearlysteps success at Ludlow earlier today. The two in question are Brunswick Gold who scored on his pointing debut in a strong Mens Open field at Cottenham last month and Gunmoney who’s seasonal return came when weakening late on having set a decent pace behind the aforementioned Pearlysteps in a similar event to this at Towcester last month. Both jockey’s lack experience under rules and it will be interesting to see how they fare should the meeting get the go ahead.
Promanco contests the bumper on the same card for trainer Charlie Longsdon and she’s interesting given her trainers record in such races. The daughter of Kayf Tara scored in decent fashion in a weak enough maiden at Lockinge last Spring showing a fair amount of speed in the process and she is taken to get her rules career off to the best possible start in this concluding event.
Kudu Shine is again of interest in the three mile novice hurdle that takes place on Friday’s Bangor card. The eight year old is a belated recruit to rules racing having made five starts between the flags proving victorious on three occasions. The Richard Woollacott-trained gelding made his rules debut on soft ground at Exeter three weeks ago when travelling well for much of the contest prior to flattening out in the straight under Conor O’Farrell and he looks set to go well if taking up this engagement though I feel that whatever he does here he is likely to be seen to better effect in handicaps.
It looks unlikely that Sunday’s Musselburgh winner That’s Rhythm will be asked to line up in the concluding Hunter Chase at Bangor this coming Friday and as such it looks an open enough contest. Made In Time (second at Ludlow) and Classinaglass (disappointing at Market Rasen) have also run in recent days and as such it leaves the door open for a less exposed horse to take this. My preference at this stage would be for Alastair Ralph’s Following Dreams who put in arguably his best performance of last season when scoring on holding ground at Upton-Upon-Severn at the end of March 2013 though it’s worth noting that the trip may be on the short side for the gelding.
The bumper that concludes Kempton’s card this Friday could feature the promising Magheral Express. The five year old took a firm ground maiden at Tattersalls Farm last May despite doing everything wrong prior to and during the race. The son of Gold Well had sweated up badly and got loose on his way to the start while during the race the now Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding pulled hard when making the running. In truth that wasn’t a great affair with the runner-up cutting very little ice under rules since but he’s joined a leading stable and should prove capable of scoring under rules.
The concluding events on Newbury’s card this coming Saturday both feature useful looking pointers. Mendip Express is now three from three over fences since switching to rules racing from points for this season. Harry Fry’s charge has seen off some useful prospects on the way and was highly impressive in seeing off twelve vastly more experienced rivals on soft ground over 3m3f at Cheltenham last month. The eight year old son of King’s Theatre won the Coronation Cup at Larkhill last season and seems effective on all types of ground and should take the world of beating here with regular pilot Will Biddick set to ride once more.
The bumper on the Newbury card is as usual a competitive looking affair which features pointers from both sides of the sea. The UK are represented by the ex-Don Cantillon-trained Inner Drive who is now with Alan King and the Harry Fry-trained Thomas Brown while Ireland are represented by Uppertown Cave, Definitly Red and Our Kaempfer. Preference here is for Definitly Red who would have won at the second time of asking in points at Loughanmore last Easter but for his jockey mistaking the winning post. The son of Definite Article made no mistakes six and a half months later when defeating Brownville and nine other declarations by twenty lengths in a soft ground affair at the same track. Steve Gollings now trains the five year old and he easily saw off Final Nudge by nine lengths at Uttoxeter on heavy ground at the end of December and has the makings of a high class individual. Definitly Red can be given most to do by Alan King’s Inner Drive who showed he had a high cruising speed when winning at Guilsborough under Nico De Boinville last April and who shaped with immense promise when runner-up behind Zulu Oscar at Wincanton in November and his particular listed bumper has the makings of a cracking race.
West Cork Flash could make his return to handicaps in the three mile chase at Uttoxeter this coming Saturday. The ten year old gelding unseated his rider Caroline Dennis when upsides jumping the last against Adept Approach at Fontwell on good ground in a Hunter Chase back in May and he could make his first start since in this. Paul Henderson now trains the gelding though he remains in Mrs Dennis’ ownership and having had just the six chase outings, including two in races confined to hunters last season he looks unexposed and capable of running well off his current mark though he’s also engaged in Warwick’s novices chase also held this Sunday.
Eleven are engaged in the Raymond Smith Memorial Hunters Chase at Leopardstown this coming Sunday including the 2012 Hennessy winner Quel Esprit and another former Grade 1 winner in the shape of Pandorama. The most intriguing runners in the three mile event are the Downpatrick winner James and the Galway Plate runner-up Quantitativeeasing. As noted in last weeks column Quantitativeeasing was the horse to take out of the Open event won by Burren River at Nenagh and he looks more than capable of running to his current handicap mark of 143 granted the right conditions. The gelding hasn’t won for over two years and the ground is likely to be a tad softer than ideal for him while James takes a marked step up in grade having won at Downpatrick in consummate ease in maiden company in December. Warne returned with an impressive display at Kirkistown last month though he looks to be a horse who’s better over shorter and would be my idea of the Aintree Foxhunter’s winner at this early stage and given the doubts surrounding the others it may be best to side with On The Fringe who seemed to return as good as ever when winning at Down Royal in December following an eighteen month lay-off. On The Fringe will have no issues with the ground and can take this competitive event.