Our resident pundit has three bets from Navan as well as a nap at Cheltenham.
The wraps are off some big names in this Grade 2 hurdle, but it wouldn’t come as the biggest shock in the world if the in-form DE PLOTTING SHED (best price 9-2) proved good enough to spoil one or two parties with the all-important fitness edge on his side. A smooth winner on his seasonal return over today’s course, Gordon Elliot’s inmate has gone on to claim some decent scalps on his next two starts and on the latter of those displays, he couldn’t have been any more impressive when lowering the colours of Ivanovich Gorbatov in a conditions hurdle at Naas. Now officially rated 150, he more than deserves his place in today’s field and likely to be given a ride whereby his stamina will count for plenty, the son of Beneficial rates a cracking each-way bet at his top morning odds providing all eight declared runners go to post.
As he proved last week, TELL US MORE (best price 3-1) is a fair tool when he pieces it all together and he’s taken to follow up that breakthrough success seven days on. Always travelling well from flag fall, Gordon Elliot’s charge came nicely clear of a decent field on the run-in to post his first victory in Graded company over fences and now that his jumping seems to have been sorted and, as a result, his confidence is high, he can continue to rub shoulders with some of the classier opponents in this division on home soil.
BALLYARTHUR (NAP) (best price 5-1) just looked as though he needed the run on his seasonal return at Carlisle, but that outing should have put a nice edge on him with regards to this prize. Taking up the running going well two out at the Cumbrian venue, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge went clear and looked all over the winner jumping the last, but clearly feeling the effects of a long layoff, he got tired in the closing stages and succumbed to the re-rallying Ryedale Racer (won again since) close home. Although looking at him, chasing is clearly going to be his game further down the line, he’s certainly done enough in his two starts under rules to suggest he’s not too badly treated for his handicap hurdling debut off a mark of 119, and he makes plenty of each-way appeal with four places on offer on ground and track which should suit.
In what should turn out to be an extremely informative beginners chase, GUERTEEN (best price 8-1) is worth a small speculator at his morning odds to make a promising start to his career over fences. A former point-to-point winner, Robert Tyner’s charge began life under rules by chasing home the hugely talented Min on his hurdling debut, then following a couple of impressive victories at Leopardstown and over today’s course, he rounded off the season with a creditable effort in a listed contest at Naas. Although he clearly stayed 3m well enough out in the fields, he’s exhibited enough speed over the smaller obstacles to suggest he will always be campaigned over shorter trips in future and even though he faces a fairly stiff examination paper on his chasing debut, he has sufficient class to make his presence felt with a clear round.