Today starts day one of the Hennessy meeting at Newbury and that venue is our first port of call today.
The one that stands out in this open contest is the David Pipe trained Vazaro Delafayette who looks on a very competitive mark at the moment. While the gelding is still a maiden over hurdles after four attempts, he was up against some hot enough company in his maidens/novice runs. He stepped in the handicap company for the first time on his last start and that was a much improved effort, in which the winner followed up again at Kempton on Monday in impressive enough fashion. The blinkers also make an appearance here for the first time and this could be just what he needs to sharpen him up.,
The biggest danger to the selection is probably Spooky Dooky, the mount of AP McCoy who enters handicap company for the first time. While the son of Winged Love has not shown a great deal in four hurdles starts, his point to point win looks strong enough. He had a horse nineteen lengths back in fifth that day who now has a rating of 130 over hurdles. That is the only horse that seems to back of the form of that point win though as not a lot else has come out of that contest. You would have to think that there will be much more to come from him now that he tackles handicaps.
Of the remainder, the lightly raced Flying Bandit appeals most while Loch Ba looks well treated if able to transform his chase form, although this trip may be a small bit of the short side for him.
Vazaro Delafayette (WIN)
For my second selection today we make the switch to Uttoxeter for a handicap hurdle.
It is hard to get away from Rouquine Sauvage who should be able to follow up here again despite the seven pound penalty. She ran out a very easy winner at Chepstow last time out at class five level and while this represents a 10lbs rise in class, it should be taken in her stride. On the evidence of that win, I think she could quite possibly have upwards of a stone in hand here and if that is the case she should prove very hard to beat.
Warren Greatrex runs Chesterlin here who returns from a 281 day absence and was pulled up on his last two starts. If those two runs can be forgiven the chestnut could be on a lenient enough mark here. Personally I am not a huge fan of backing horses returning from a break when the ground is on the soft side as horses who are race fit are usually at a big advantage. If fit enough here he is sure to have a say, but is going to have to be to get past the jolly.
Of the remainder Le Frank Baum was well gambled on last time and duly obliged, but this looks a great deal tougher. Mortlestown also looks fairly well treated too but may be in need of the run after a 269 day break.
Rouquine Sauvage (WIN)
We stay at Uttoxeter for my last selection day where we switch to the larger obstacles for the first time.
Heading the betting here is the eleven year old Mohi Rahrere and while well treated on the best of his form, I think he is finding it much harder to get his head in front. With that in mind, I am willing to take him on here.
The one that I am going to take him on with here is Ray Diamond, in the hope that the first time blinkers can spark a change in fortunes. While you have to go back to 2012 to find his last win over fences, the gelding did go close off this mark at Exeter last December but just was unfortunate to bump in to a well handicapped rival. This looks a fairly weak contest and as long as the son of Medicean puts in a clear round he is sure to have a say in proceedings.
Lord Lir looks feasibly treated but is still a maiden after twenty starts while Phoenix Des Mottes is now six pounds above the mark he was last successful off of.
Ray Diamond (WIN)