Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
BetVictor were announced yesterday as the new sponsors of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle the first Grade 1 contest of the British jumps season to be held at Newcastle on Saturday December 1st. The race was won by the dual Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air 12 months ago and Nicky Henderson reports his 7-year-old to be on course for a repeat next month.
Tom George’s Supreme Novice Hurdle winner Summerville Boy is likely to also make his seasonal reappearance at Gosforth Park and it will be a fascinating duel if both stand their ground.
Good ground at Chepstow for this afternoon’s jumps card and there are showers forecast. I was impressed with the ride Tom Buckley gave Georgina Joy at Hereford on Monday for Nigel Hawke and I am sure he will give Slaying The Dragon (12.55) a positive ride dropping back in trip. The each way selection has his first start for his new inform yard today.
I’m looking forward to the first start over hurdles for The Big Bite (1.25) who finished in mid-division in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham back in the spring having won a couple of ordinary Bumpers previously.
Alan King’s Harambe finished third in the Aintree Bumper and is another to consider in what promises to be a most informative Maiden Hurdle.
Clondaw Rigger (2.00) ran a very promising race on his Uttoxeter reappearance and is 2lbs lower this afternoon. Katy Price’s runners are in fine form and the hope is that this runner goes under the radar somewhat with Whin Park likely to be a short-priced favourite given the authority of his recent Ludlow success. A return to a left-hand track should suit and a 5lbs rise is fair.
Slaying The Dragon 7/1
The Big Bite 85/40
Clondaw Rigger 11/2
Surfman (12.35) was slowest away on debut at Nottingham but ran well in the circumstances finishing third in the second division of a maiden that is invariably won by a decent sort. He is entitled to improve with that experience behind him although he may not want too many of the forecast showers. The selection is a son of Kingman and the sire’s progeny – albeit from a small sample – have a modest record on soft ground.
The same sentiment applies to Private Secretary (1.05) who went into the notebook when a neck second at Yarmouth over 7f on debut. The John Gosden-trained Kingman colt will appreciate an additional furlong as a half-brother to a number of decent middle-distance performers.
Private Secretary 11/8
Fearlessly (4.35) was a bit keen on debut at Kempton and if she settles better I feel she will appreciate this tougher track at Newcastle and would hope she will be finishing when others have cried enough.
Solid Stone (5.10) can go one better than when runner up at Doncaster last time – backed as if defeat was out of the question – and he can make it third time lucky for Sir Michael Stoute who landed the Breeders’ Cup Mile with Expert Eye at the weekend.
Solid Stone 1/2