Bellshill started at 2-5 for the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle and, apart from a couple of slipshod leaps at the last two hurdles was an impressive five length victor form Last Encounter. Connections believe he may have just been idling in the heavy ground but the option he takes at the Festival makes it a sticky decision to ask followers to invest at a 9-2 best for, what at this stage, looks the most likely engagement of the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle.
Bellshill could be given more match practice in the Deloitte Hurdle at Leopardstown in February and it could be a case on waiting for the Great man to inform all of targets before taking any plunge.
Yorkhill look more the staying type when grinding out a two and a quarter length victory from O O Seven in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle and, as good as he is, the vibes emanating from the Mullins camp and Ruby Walsh are that Bellshill is the better of the pair.
The value for the Neptune Novices Hurdle and, indeed the fly in the ointment for the Mullins team could be the unbeaten Barters Hill who currently stands at odds as big as 16-1 for the two miles five furlong event.
The Ben Pauling-trained gelding had a length-and-a-quarter verdict over Bellshill in the Champion Bumper at Aintree in April where there was certainly no fluke about the result and signalled his intent in the hurdling division when slamming subsequent Cheltenham winner North Hill Harvey 14 lengths at Huntingdon in November.
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Further evidence of his prowess was given in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle over two miles and four and a half furlong at Newbury at the end of last month when he made all for a 12-length victory from Politolougue where he still looked in need of the experience.
The only concern is that he currently heads the market for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle too but his style of running looks better suited to the two miles and five of the Neptune than the three miles of the first named race.
The suggestion is to have 1pt at the 16-1 or 14-1 available and we can save on the day should the longer race take preference with connections.
Seeyouatmidnight was marked down as a money spinner in week 3 of the diary and those who heeded the advice were reward with a 7-2 winner in the Grade 2 Dipper Novices Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Sandy Thomson’s stable star jumped like a pro apart from a slight blemish at the last and, as a past winner of the Rendlesham Hurdle, possesses the sort of class that is starting to make the 16-1 for the RSA Chase just a little attractive. He looks the sort to continue to improve over fences and 1pt each way for the RSA is the recommendation.