Today we have just the one runner in Cheltenham, Punitive in the Celotex Thermaclass Amateur Jockeys handicap chase. Punitive ran a really good race the last day at Cheltenham to finish a close 2nd on debut for the yard. In doing so he nearly won back his purchase price on his first attempt. Today he is upped in class and this should be a great spin for connections. Rob James has been booked to ride and will claim 3lbs.
Over in Ireland we have some really nice horses out in Naas. In the opening maiden hurdle for 5yo+ we have ELLIS BOYD REDDING and KANSAS CITY STAR. This will be Ellis’ first run over hurdles and it is a nice big field where he can get some cover, Davy Russell has been booked to ride. Kansas City Star will also be having his first start over hurdle. He looks a very nice type and won his point to point very impressively. He should improve into a nice prospect and jumping looks his game.
For the 4yo+ maiden hurdle over 2m3f we have MALTON GROOVE and SANTONITO. Malton Groove will be having his first start of the season and has only run once previously last season in a maiden hurdle where he was behind Eric Bloodaxe. He needed a Summer to mature and grow into his frame so should be a stronger prospect this year and has Davy Russell in the saddle. Santonito is a bit more of a forward type and has his second start of the season over hurdles. He ran well the last day behind a very good horse and that should leave him in a good position here with Jack Kennedy in the saddle.
It is a very small field for the Grade 3 Fishery Lane hurdle but it looks a really quality field. FIL DOR starts his season as he takes on the very smart Brazil. We are a little wrong in the weights with Brazil but would like to think that Fil Dor has the class. It will probably turn into a tactical race up the front but it should make for an exciting spectacle.
We bring forward four runners for the Brown Lad handicap hurdle; DUFFLE COAT, VINA ARDANZA, JIMMY JIMMY and BOLD GETAWAY. Duffers was a little disapointing in Cheltenham the last day but ran on at the end so the 2m4f should be well suited to him. He will also receive a 7lb allowance thanks to Corey McGivern’s claim. Vina Ardanza is a talented hurdler who has been thrown in the deep end a couple of times recently. It was good to see him put in a clear round the last day to build up confidence and will have Davy Russell in the saddle. Jimmy Jimmy might be one of the most unlucky horses. He ran well at the Curragh on his most recent start before a horse in front of him came down and Sam Ewing was unseated. The ease in the ground will be crucial to him and he has Denis O’Regan in the saddle. Finally rounding them off is Bold Getaway who came back from a long break with a pleasing run in Galway and gives us plenty to build on, Jack Kennedy has been booked to ride.
BALLYKEEL leads the way in the Beginners Chase over 2m4f. This horse has put in two fine efforts over hurdles latest but tries fences for the first time under rules. He was twice placed in point to points so that experience should help him here. Most people’s interest will be draw to the potential Ferrari in amongst the entrants as THREE STRIPE LIFE makes his debut over fences. This Grade 1 winning hurdler looks made for chasing with his big athletic frame. He has managed to push some big names to dig a little deeper such as Sir Gerhard and Mighty Potter. Davy Russell has been booked to ride.
Finally in the bumper we have a very nice filly called HALKA DU TABERT. We won last year’s edition of this bumper with Bellatior and Halka looks another nice filly to go forward. She is a daughter of Balko who won her point to point by 30l and the horse in 2nd has since won on the track in the UK. She cost £260,000 and can hopefully do the owner’s of Honeysuckle proud on debut. Jamie Codd has been booked to ride.