Friday Racing: Halo Moon Can Eclipse the Field at Newbury5 min read
News yesterday that Bryony Frost will ride the Warwick Classic Chase winner Milansbar in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree next month. It might be worth remembering that last year’s National winner One For Arthur took the same Warwick National trial before winning the big one and Neil King’s gelding is to repeat the feat on April 14th.
The ground is still described as soft at Newbury for today’s card but I suggest we pay attention to the times and the thoughts of the jockeys’ after the first couple of races. The ground was described as soft at Haydock on Wednesday and the ground was no worse than good to soft.
The Handicapper suggests De Rasher Counter has 10lbs and more in hand on his six rivals in the opener but I am an admirer of both Molineux and Euxton Lane (2.00) and will be disappointed if at least one of the pair do not improve past the likely favourite.
The selection ran away with a Fontwell maiden hurdle on soft ground last time and he is clearly improving at a rate of knots. Today’s additional couple of furlongs should suit and I will be disappointed if he does not run a big race in the famous colours of Trevor Hemmings.
The 2m 6f Handicap Chase is a belter with only 13lbs between top-weight Bally Longford and Morning Reggie at the foot of the weights. If the ground continues to dry out at the Berkshire track do not discount the chances of the latter – this step up in trip could be ideal for Oliver Sherwood’s grey.
My two against the field, however, are Bally Longford and Halo Moon (2.30) with marginal preference for the latter who will appreciate the drying ground and ran a very good race at Doncaster last time although he has been raised a couple of pounds for that effort.
The Brown Chamberlin Trophy is named after one of Fred Winter’s great chasers. The form of Ice Cool Champs second to Coo Star Sivola at Exeter last time was given a boost when the winner followed up at Cheltenham. The yard of Rebecca Curtis have been badly out of sorts all season but I hope Joe Farrell (3.40) can finally give the yard a winner and I am convinced he is well handicapped off his current mark.
The selection is 11lbs lower over fences than hurdles but his fourth behind Mia’s Storm at Chepstow in October is decent form and Curtis is too good a trainer for her yard to continue to struggle for much longer.
At Sedgefield Lord Napier (4.00) can follow up his recent Ludlow success in the Novices’ Hurdle under a 7lbs penalty for Sean and Peter Bowen. The selection travelled and jumped well at the Shropshire track last time and this step up in trip ought to suit.
At Kempton tonight William Hunter (8.15) has been given a chance by the handicapper in the 12f handicap and was not give too hard a race at Lingfield last time. Martin Harley takes over in the saddle for Alan King and he can reward each way support although his draw in stall eight could have been kinder.