The Friday NAP, White Moon, went in for followers of the blog and what an impressive winner he was. Despite drifting to 7/4 before the off, the Tizzard runner jumped and travelled well alongside favourite Dan McGrue throughout before showing his rivals a fair amount of distain in the final furlong, powering away for a six-length win. He’s definitely one for the tracker and could well play a hand in the Neptune or Albert Bartlett come festival time.
Today (Saturday) it’s fair to say for most the attention is on Flat affairs at Ascot, where surely Order of St George is one of the best bets for a while at only a touch of odds on in the first. There is still some quality jumps action to be seen, however, with some big stars on show at Stratford, Ffos Las and Market Rasen.
It’s a particularly big day for Nigel Twiston-Davies with his two biggest stable stars both strutting their stuff. At 3.00 last season’s Gold Cup seventh Bristol De Mai goes back down into handicap company at Stratford. He takes on Paul Nicholls’ Romain De Senam, who is undoubtedly a very well handicapped horse, as he showed at Chepstow last week, but he’s not a Gold Cup horse. He’s been dropped seven pounds since running off 166 in the Denman Chase in February and is now running off a mark just five pounds higher than when bolting up by 22 lengths the last time he ran in handicap company, in the Peter Marsh at Haydock in January. At 9/2 he is surely a cracking bet here, considering you can back him each way.
Then, later in the afternoon The New One runs for the trainer in the Welsh Champion Hurdle over at Ffos Las. The nine-year-old has been a superstar over the years for Twiston-Davies finishing in the first five in the last four Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham and winning multiple Grade 2s. I was in the camp that wanted him to step up to three miles last season, and he may well end up still doing so this time around, but for now he is certainly good enough to win a race like this over two. He’s won first time out every single season he’s raced and with new jockey Zach Baker taking off five pounds, he can continue that run today.
Elsewhere, West Approach brings some very good form from last season over hurdles into his new career as a chaser. He may not be quite as good as Thistlecrack, who runs in the same colours, but as a novice he finished a close third in the Cleeve at Cheltenham in January behind Unowhatimeanharry and should be good enough to make a winning chasing debut at Ffos Las. And over at Market Rasen, Capitaine is another horse making his first start over fences. Paul Nicholls’ runner won the Grade 2 Kennel Gate last term and should make an even better chaser.
3.00 Stratford – Bristol De Mai 9/2ew
3.20 Ffos Las – West Approach 13/8
4.00 Market Rasen – Capitaine 4/5
4.25 Ffos Las – The New One 11/4 (NAP)