PADDOCKS PATENT (THURSDAY)
Barman ran up a sequence of wins during the summer and met with a first defeat in four starts last time out. That may have been because he bumped into a very much in form rival in Rossetti who had won his two previous races. The form of that race has already been boosted by Kapstadt who finished almost ten lengths behind the selection. This race does not appear to be as strong on paper and Nicky Henderson may well have found an ideal opportunity to get his five year old back to winning ways.
Crickel Wood is the only previous course and distance winner in the line up. He hasn’t been seen on any track in almost a year, but if fully wound up at the first time of asking he may well be able to figure prominently. The youngest rival in the field is Nice Thoughts from the David Pipe yard. He won two races over a mile on the flat and has not been disgraced on his last two runs for this yard. There is still plenty of improvement in him but again it would take a monumental leap forward if he was to trouble the proven Henderson runner. Miss Estela could well prove to be the fly in the ointment for Barman as she was considered good enough to send to Punchestown earlier in the year. Wins either side of that effort mean she will be fully at home in this company despite an almost four month layoff.
Nico De Boinville has partnered Barman to all three of his career success to date. Despite giving weight away all around this afternoon, the combination look to be the duo to beat. With the yard continuing to go well they have to be respected today,
Megalala may be a pensioner but he is somewhat of a standing dish over this course and distance. Eight times he has graced the winners enclosure here at Brighton and despite his advancing years he still seems to be in good form and he can give Danny Brock a decent ride in this apprentice handicap. He likes to wear his heart on his sleeve and try to make all in his races and if allowed an soft lead here, he will prove difficult to peg back.
Hermosa Vaquera is a useful dual purpose performer and has recorded wins over hurdles at Plumpton as well as on the flat here. She comes into the race fully race fit and has the assistance of the in form Hector Crouch. He can take a useful five pounds off her back here as he seeks to partner his sixth winner for the yard inside the last month. She in one of only a few in form and has to be rated as a major threat. Highlife Dancer has beaten only one rival home in each of his last three starts including when partnered by today’s jockey Silvestre De Sousa. He will have to find another gear this afternoon if he is to defy top weight.
Megalala is still showing something at home for John Bridger to keep bringing him back to the track. Ultimately it will be him who decides whether he wants to win this or not but his rivals are no great shakes and being a model of consistency, he is certainly worth another punt.
Megalala (E/W if 9/2+)
Soupy Soups was good enough to land a bumper at Ffos Las on what was his racecourse debut last season. The following month he was sent to Fontwell for a maiden hurdle and was completely outgunned by the talented Emerging Force. The form of that race has begun to work out well though with the fourth placed Kap Jazz coming out to win subsequently. Soupy Soups was then given a break and wasnt seen again for six months when he was upped in trip dramatically and finished third to The Tailgater at Huntingdon. He has has a further five months to mature and with his yard in excellent form, he is certainly one to consider here. Noel Fehily has partnered five of the stables last ten winners so his booking is particularly eye-catching.
Quebec is beginning to look dangerously well handicapped and he suggested that his turn wouldn’t be far away when beaten only a neck at Uttoxeter upon his seasonal return. This return to a more suitable trip will pay to his strengths and he looks the most likely of dangers. Vivas was beaten over a dozen lengths when last tried at this trip back in May. Despite the booking of Richard Johnson, he may need this run and he doesn’t offer any value at current odds. Wildmoor Boy sneaks in here at the foot of the weights and recorded a first ever win last month. His confidence will have been boosted by that success and he looks likely to play a hand in the finish.
Soupy Soups is still far from the finished article and there should still be plenty of scope for improvement. The stable like to have winners at Warwick and he has to be high on any shortlist.
Soupy Soups (E/W if 9/2+)