Simone can offer some Wednesday cheer

There’s some cracking jumps action coming up this week with the likes of Ballyandy and former Champion Hurdler Jezki both possibles as the season proper starts to ratchet it up a gear or two. I haven’t had much time unfortunately of late to post here but I simply had to blog about one I really like the chances of in the first at Perth on Wednesday.

The mare in question is Simone, who makes her debut for Lucinda Russell after being bought for £105,000 in May following a bumper win at Punchestown when in the care of Shane Nolan. The five-year-old finished just over a length ahead of Lighthouse Warrier, inflicting that one’s only defeat in three starts, while in third was Peacock’s Secret, who has subsequently also won, beating one from the Willie Mullins yard at Kilbeggan. Look back to Simone’s previous start and you’ll see her finish fourth at the Punchestown Festival, just missing third after finishing strongly, with the potentially very smart Mystic Theatre just ahead in second. The form is miles stronger and offering masses more potential when compared to Pat’s Oscar, yet it is the Gordon Elliott runner who is favourite in this Perth novice hurdle. You can get 2/1 on Simone and I recommend you steam in and take that price.

Elsewhere, I just wanted to give a shoutout to my own pride and joy, Julius George, who runs in the semi finals of the canine version of the Grand National at Sittingbourne (I refuse to call it Central Park). He ran a cracker last week to make it to this stage and although he’s in a very tough heat he’s been majorly disrespected by the bookies, who have priced him up at 50/1. Trouble in running is common in the greyhound world and I wouldn’t be surprised if George managed to sneak a place if there is bother for one of the two hotpots.

Wednesday selections –

2.20 Perth – Simone 2/1 (NAP)

2.45 Sligo – Logical Song 4/5

3.15 Sligo – Presenting Mahler 9/4

3.50 Sligo – Robin des Mana 5/4

4.00 Perth – Arctic Gold 7/4

4.30 Perth – Sky Khan 7/1ew

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Monday selections 

Some decent jumps action coming up tomorrow at Galway and Worcester. Here are my early selections…

2.25 Galway – Stratum

2.30 Worcester – Wait for Me

2.55 Galway – Moyross

3.00 Worcester – Mad Jack Mytton

3.25 Galway – Contingency

4.05 Worcester – Forza Milan

4.30 Galway – Montana Belle

4.35 Worcester – Banditry

5.00 Galway – Dorkas

Prospectus price must be taken 

Two selections from Tuesday’s card at Listowel and the NAP is Prospectus, who has been priced up at a very tasty 11/1 by Bet365. This is a horse who won twice last winter for Gavin Cromwell and who’s most impressive display was on soft/heavy, like he will encounter here. He was good enough to contest the big four-year-old Grade 2 at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival and wasn’t unfancied in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham, before being pulled up by Ruby Walsh. You can draw a line through that run though as his general form is very good and getting a stone, plus seven pounds more from the jockey’s claim, from Ex Patriot could well be enough to stop Elle Marie Holden’s classy Triumph fourth from scoring. Either way, I can’t see him out of the frame.

And at 4.10 I really like chances of Capital Force on chasing debut. We all know that Henry De Bromhead is a master at improving horses for an introduction to fences and this six-year-old wouldn’t have even needed much improvement to be a serious contender here, having been eighth in the Supreme at the Festival in March. He’s got winning form on soft and I strongly advise taking the 11/4 on offer.

Listowel selections:

4.10 – Capital Force 11/4

4.40 – Prospectus 11/1ew (NAP)

Stars can shine on Sunday

After 7/1 and 6/1 winners on Friday nothing really appealed yesterday, but today I’m really keen on the chances of Henry De Bromhead’s Three Stars on day one of the Listowel Harvest festival. A winner this time last year on the same kind of surface he’ll face today, the seven-year-old is a Grade 3 winner and the class act in this field – at 8/1 he’s a tremendous each way punt as I can’t see him out of the frame.

Selections –

2.25 Listowel – Ballycasey 11/8

2.35 Curragh – Seventh Heaven 5/1ew

3.40 Curragh – Alpha Centauri 7/2ew

5.00 Listowel – Three Stars 8/1ew (NAP)

Julio can make most of generous Flat mark

I hope everyone took advantage of yesterday’s selection – Our Kylie in the end drifting to 11/2 before scoring for us at Sedgefield. The focus of today’s action is a mix of jumps and flat over the Irish Sea at Kilbeggan and Down Royal.

The NAP is Presenting Julio, who has had a great summer so far, winning five times over hurdles and fences since April. Today Gordon Elliott’s nine-year-old reverts to the Flat in the last at Down Royal, where he runs off a very appealing mark of 62. Having won over three miles already this summer, the 2m 2f test on the level should hold no fears and offers of 12/1 simply must be taken.

Thirty minutes earlier I also like the claims of Konig Hall, another horse who has enjoyed a fruitful time of late, finishing in the frame on four of his last five starts over hurdles and on the Flat. Indeed the only time he didn’t in that sequence was an outing on the all-weather at Wolverhampton in July. He was last seen on turf winning at Limerick in June and is still rated only 58 – fully 51 pounds below his hurdles rating. He’s won on soft in the past so the ground shouldn’t inconvenience him too much and the 10/1 available is great each-way value.

Over at Kilbeggan there’s a full jumps card and we can get off to a flyer in the opener at 4.20 with Chateauneuf Du Pap. Tony Mullins’ runner has been running consistently well in bumpers all summer without winning and went closest yet to getting his head in front last time out, on only his second race over hurdles, where he finished less than a length behind Gordon Elliott’s Canny Tom at Tramore three weeks back. That was on ground similar to what he will face today and he’s taken to get the better of favourite The Brassmoulder, making his second start for Henry De Bromhead.

At 5.25, smart flat convert Felix Mendelssohn looks a good thing for Joseph O’Brien, while at 5.55 I’m really keen on the chances of Jaime Sommers, who has been knocking on the door, finishing second the last three times, including over course and distance two starts back when only beaten by Willie Mullins’ Whiteout. The mare out of Milan can get her deserved day in the sun today.

A bumper concludes precedings at Kilbeggan and I’m taking a chance on Peacocks Secret showing his true form after a very poor last effort at Galway. As I commented yesterday, Galway form doesn’t count for much outside Ballybrit and before that run Emmet Mullins’ charge had run some of the smartest bumper runners of the summer close without getting his head in front. Of course it could turn out that Willie Mullins’ debutant, Jonnigraig, is well above average but I’m willing to take a chance that he’s not. 

Selections:

Kilbeggan 4.20 – Chateauneuf Du Pap 9/4

Kilbeggan 5.25 – Felix Mendelssohn 4/5

Kilbeggan 5.55 – Jaime Sommers 6/1ew (NB)

Down Royal 6.45 – Konig Hall 10/1ew

Down Royal 7.15 – Presenting Julio 12/1ew (NAP)

Kilbeggan 7.25 – Peacocks Secret 7/2