14:25 Newbury

Back Caribou at 2-1

As we saw here yesterday, the ability to handle testing conditions is paramount and being as CARIBOU (best price 2-1) is the only runner in the five-strong field who has won on heavy ground, confidence is high he can press home that advantage and follow up his Goodwood success. 

Promising on his first two starts, Denis Coakley’s looked to have strong claims going in to a novice event at the Sussex venue 13 days ago and he duly obliged, showing a nice attitude in seeing off his five rivals. Moreover, his speed figure came out well up against some of the better older horses on the card, such as Onassis and Amarillo Star, and with the strong possibility of even more to come, this likeable son of Adaay looks on affair opening mark of 80 for his nursery debut.

Caribou - 1pt @ 2/1

15:22 Galway

Back Julies Stowaway at 6-4

The Champion Bumper always produces a rich source of talent who go to make smart hurdlers the following campaign and having run well to finish a creditable seventh in last season’s renewal, JULIES STOWAWAY (best price 6-4) is strongly fancied to make his class tell in what looks an ordinary maiden on paper. 

Runner-up behind two smart prospects in a couple of above-average bumpers at Navan and Limerick, the son of Stowaway returned to the scene of the former venue two months later to face the likes of useful mare Delvino and the much-vaunted Ballyadam (sent off 1-4) and in lowering the colours of that potentially top-class pair, he posted an excellent time figure for a race of that nature. Allowed to take his chance at Cheltenham following that quality performance, Mags Mullins’ gelding acquitted himself with great credit despite not making the frame and it was a display to strongly suggest a bright future lay ahead once allowed to tackle hurdles. Indeed, when you look at how that race 227 days ago has worked out with the likes of Queens Brook, Third Time Lucki, Eskylane, Ocean Wind, One True King and Ask A Honey Bee all winning on their hurdling debuts, it puts into perspective the level of form he brings to the table here this afternoon, so despite the fact he’s up against the experienced Run For Oscar, there’s little doubt he has more long-term potential than his main market rival and will hopefully prove that theory at the first time of asking.

Julies Stowaway - 1pt @ 6/4

16:14 Leopardstown

 Helvic Dream my NAP at 9-4

HELVIC DREAM (NAP) (best price 9-4) absolutely battered his rivals at the Curragh last time out and Noel Meade’s gelding is not expected to show any mercy to this bunch in what looks a similar standard race on paper. Held up off the pace at the Co Kildare venue, the son of Power loomed up pulling a train as the field turned for home and in a twinkling of an eye he was away and gone, leaving some smart performers at Group 3 level in his wake. A real mud lark who exhibits both a decent cruising speed and turn of foot, hopefully he receives a smooth run around the inside from gate one before being delivered with a knockout punch in the home straight.

Helvic Dream - 2pts @ 9/4

16:45 Newbury

Back Surrey Pride at 10-3

SURREY PRIDE (best price 10-3) was given too much to do in the hottest three-year-old handicap of its kind at Newmarket last time out, but now returning to the scene of one of his best performances, Joseph Tuite’s inmate rates a confident vote to get back on track with Jamie Spencer on board. 

Strongly fancied following two impressive victories with plenty of ease underfoot earlier in the campaign, the son of Lope De Vega was still in last place with three furlongs to run at HQ, so to end up finishing creditable fifth speaks volumes for his attitude and natural ability. Whether regular pilot Charlie Bishop felt the wrath of his connections in the post-race huddle in anyone’s guess, but the switch in pilot might not end up being a bad thing, as this three-year-old has the kind of cruising speed and style of racing today’s master in the saddle usually excels on.

Surrey Pride - 1pt @ 10/3

16:49 Leopardstown

Back Melburnian at 11-2

MELBURNIAN (best price 11-2) has taken quite a while to find something approaching her best form, but there has been plenty encouragement on her last two runs and as today’s contest also represents a significant drop down in class, Tony Martin’s mare is fancied to shrug aside top weight. 

A ridiculously easy winner of the October Handicap at this track last year, the daughter of Zambezi Sun was nowhere near that level of performance on her first two outings this season but in was a similar story to her campaign twelve months ago when she only sprung to life in the Autumn months when the ground turned soft. Well-backed to win the same race last week, the five-year-old didn’t have the race run to suit and unable to quicken as well as some of the other main players in the dash for the line off the home turn, she could only keep on at the one pace to finish a never-nearer sixth. That said, she was up against the likes of improving three-year-old, Haparanda, Layfayette, and Red Kelly to name but three, so in the context of today’s heat, it still wasn’t a bad effort. With |Colin Keane booked, presumably connections mean business again and providing she gets a better pace to shoot at this time around, she should end up being a big player despite dropping back two furlongs.

Melburnian - 1pt e/w @ 11/2

17:35 Cheltenham

Back Smurphy Enki at 10-3 & Up Animal at 16/1

A cracking bumper to end the card with a whole host of potential future stars on show, none more so than SMURPHY ENKI (best price 10-3) and ANIMAL (best price 16-1) and they are worth playing against the field. 

The former made a huge impact on his debut at Wincanton last season and based on the time figure he posted that day, it will take a good one to lower his colours if he’s somewhere near that level of form following a 233-day break. Setting off the make the running, Chris Gordon’s gelding keept winding up the pace gradually from turning out the back straight and by the time he’d turned for home, he got all his rivals waving the white flag. Form-wise, it was good to see the well-beaten fifth, Song Of The Hunter land a maiden hurdle on his next start, and with the distinct possibility of a good deal more to come as he matures, the son of Blue Bresil has to be one of the most exciting horses his relatively small operation has had through their hands. 

The latter similarly comes from a fairly small setup but he also has a bucket load of talent and he shouldn’t go unbacked judged on the way he blew away his opponents on debut at Market Rasen last season. Nibbled at in the market beforehand, Suzy Smith’s gelding always travelled well from the start and picking up the running half a mile out, he stayed on strongly to record a smooth success. Moreover, his time figure was very good by normal bumper standards and it would be disappointing if he didn’t make the grade at some stage during his career.

Smurphy Enki - 1pt @ 7/2
Animal - 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1