Pogue Returns For Pre-Christmas Cracker At Catterick5 min read
The Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot is the weekend highlight – there is no racing in Britain or Ireland on Sunday – with World Hurdle winner Paisley Park 4/7 at BetVictor to extend his unbeaten run to seven for Emma Lavelle.
The big betting race of the weekend is the £150,000 Betfair Exchange Trophy and Nicky Henderson’s French Crusader is the 7/1 market leader to go one better than when runner up at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance behind stablemate Epatante (8/1) although connections of the latter are considering a crack of the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Today’s Lingfield card was abandoned due to waterlogging on Monday morning but, at the time of writing, there are no problems expected at Catterick or Fakenham.
Fakenham (12.40): Stacey Sue
We start our preview in Norfolk and in the opening Mares’ Novices Hurdle, Molly Ollys Wishes must jump better than she did at Uttoxeter last time but if she does, she would have a leading chance.
My two against the field, however, are dual Bumper winner Miss Heritage, who has had a wind operation since her last start back in the summer, and Stacey Sue (12.40) who is fitted with a tongue-tie for the first time.
The selection ran a very promising race on her hurdles debut, returning from a 12-month lay-off at Ludlow last month, and she is entitled to strip fitter this afternoon. She will get further in time but the Alex Hales yard are in cracking form and she gets the vote.
Fakenham (13.10): Perfect Moment
Perfect Moment (13.10) took advantage of Viking Ruby’s departure at the final flight to win easily over today’s C&D last month and he can follow up from a 6lbs higher mark under Tom O’Brien.
Todd won today’s corresponding race 12 months ago from a 3lbs lower mark and looks the obvious danger under 7lbs claimer Callum McKinnes.
Fakenham (13.40): Eureu Du Boulay
Eureu Du Boulay (13.40) won a Conditions Hurdle at Fontainebleau last month and he gets the vote in the handicap chase for Richard Hobson. The selection has shown a tendency to jump out to his right on occasions, but I feel he remains fairly-treated and leading conditional Harrison Beswick takes off a valuable 5lbs.
Fakenham (14.40): Soarlikeaneagle
Those with chase experience look vulnerable in the novices’ handicap chase although Agent Westy can win a race if he cuts out the jumping mistakes which have blighted his career to date. My two against the field are Speedy Cargo and Soarlikeaneagle (14.40) with preference for the latter.
The selection has proved disappointing over timber for Richard Rowe, but he is a winner between the flags in his native Ireland and he receives 18lbs from Speedy Cargo.
*NAP* Catterick (13.25): Pogue
Winning Irish pointer Pogue (13.25) has had his wind tweaked since his last start at Kelso and is fitted with a tongue-tie for his chase debut in the novices’ handicap.
The grey cost connections £100,000 having won an Irish point-to-point last year and let’s hope it is The Fairytale of Catterick Bridge for all Pogues fans at Christmas.
Catterick (14.25): Décor Irlandais
Amy Murphy switches Mercian Prince to hurdles having disappointed in both starts over fences so far this term. The 8-year-old must go well but the vote goes to Irish raider Décor Irlandais (14.25) despite giving 12lbs and more to his 15 rivals.
The selection was a dual winner at Cartmel during the summer and travelled well until his stamina gave way over an extended three miles back in the Lake District last time. Crack Irish amateur jockey Noel McParlan comes over for the ride and he gets the vote for Noel Kelly.