12.30 Plumpton – BREAKING WAVES (nap)
The opening maiden hurdle on the card looks a potentially above-average event for the track, with a high-class bumper performer from last season taking on a highly-promising twice-raced sort that shaped well in the same sphere and one or two others that have hinted at ability and will likely prove capable of better at some stage.
The selection, trained by Noel Williams, is a son of Yeats who made a winning start to his career in a big-field bumper at Huntingdon back in March (12/1 chance), waited with in midfield but hampered and losing his place with over half a mile left to run, staying on well from the top of the straight and sustaining his run to lead inside the final 100 yards and score by 2¾ lengths from Some Day Soon. He made his return to action in a bumper at Cheltenham 37 days ago (7/2 chance), waited with in touch and making progress with half a mile left to run, ridden to challenge at the top of the straight, responding well without quite being able to match the front two as he came home in third behind Strong Glance (beaten 2¼ lengths). It was a commendable effort in defeat from this gelding, lacking the finishing kick of the front two but sticking to his task well, and that race has already been working out well with the runner-up going one better in a Listed contest back at Cheltenham next time and the fourth and ninth successful over hurdles when next seen. His pedigree alone points to this son of Yeats doing better still over obstacles, especially now faced with a stiffer test of stamina (half brother to Ok Corral and dam related to good jumpers Tidal Bay, Brewster and Beshabar); absolutely no surprise to see him make a winning start to his hurdling career here.
The Anthony Honeyball-trained Acey Milan quickly made up into a high-class bumper performer last term, following his win at Exeter last October with victory in the 14f Listed bumper at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, making all and fending off all comers. He followed up in a Listed bumper back over 2m at Newbury the following month, tracking the leader and travelling strongly throughout, moving through to lead passing the two furlong marker travelling best, clearing away inside the final furlong to score by 11 lengths from Woulduadamandeveit. He was sent off 9/2 market leader for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham the following month, well placed and holding every chance but unable to go with the leaders inside the final furlong, coming home in fourth behind Relegate (beaten 5 lengths). He made his seasonal/hurdling debut in a 2m 4f maiden event at Ffos Las 22 days ago (4/9 favourite), racing in touch on the outer, ridden to try and challenge between the third and second last flights, unable to get on terms with eventual winner Truckin Away and coming home 3½ lengths adrift at the line. It was an underwhelming first effort over timber, once again unable to muster the pace to mount a serious challenge having travelled better than most; for all he’s bred for to improve over this sort of trip/timber, it remains to be seen if he’ll prove as good in this discipline, although it’s equally much too soon to be writing him off after one attempt.
Gary Moore’s Kapdad is a son of Kapgarde who was a soundly beaten third behind Acey Milan on debut in a bumper at Wincanton last December, and he shaped with real promise on his hurdling debut when chasing home Nayati in a juvenile event at Newbury later that month. His other two outings of last term saw him finish third to Redicean at Kempton and go down by a neck to Night Of Glory at Fontwell, and he kicked off his second season with a second of three finish behind Jumping Jack in a 2m maiden hurdle here prior to finding a big-field novice handicap hurdle at Cheltenham 17 days ago too hot. He hasn’t had many excuses the last twice, but the manner in which he has shaped suggests he’s ready for this additional half a mile or so; still likely to prove vulnerable, however.
The David Pipe-trained Dusky Hercules is a nicely-bred son of Shantou who has hinted at ability in a pair of bumpers either side of summer, one paced in the straight when seventh in a Wincanton bumper back in April won by Unwin VC and then finishing fifth to Encore Champs in a bumper at Ffos Las on his return some six weeks ago, attempting to make all. He is very much bred to excel with time/distance, a half brother to the likes of Black Hercules and Hedginator, looking every inch a longer term project thus far; some level of improvement anticipated for the switch to hurdling/step up in trip, but likely handicaps and an even stiffer test will see him in a better light.
Colin Tizzard saddles a couple for Brocade Racing here, the first of them being Coastal Drift, a son of Black Sam Bellamy who was quickly done with on his sole outing last term in a bumper at Hereford, but he offered a fair bit more on his seasonal/hurdling debut in a well-contested 2m 5f novice event at Exeter 19 days ago, waited with until making some progress from four out, untidy at the next and merely plugging on thereafter as he came home in fifth behind stablemate Russian Hawk (beaten 23 lengths). This gelding hails from a decent family this stable knows well, shaping like a long-term project on both outings so far; could well need more time/distance before showing the true extent of his abilities and has a good standard to aim at here, but a bold showing wouldn’t overly surprise.
Stablemate Fly To Mars is a son of Schiaparelli whose sole outing to date came in a bumper at Exeter back in May (7/1 chance), waited with towards of the field, ridden at the top of the home straight and unable to muster the pace to get involved, coming home a soundly-held sixth behind Rhythm Is A Dancer (beaten 15 lengths). This gelding is yet another in the field whose pedigree suggests he’ll need a stiffer test over obstacles to be seen to best effect, out of a half sister to the smart chaser Ollie Magern; set a stiff enough task on his hurdling debut but can only improve.
The Sarah Humphrey-trained Parsonal is a nicely-bred son of Oscar who was a seven-race maiden in the point-to-point sphere, and he faded from prominence to finish a well-held fifth on his Rules debut in a bumper at Towcester back in March. His only other outing came on his hurdling debut in a 2m 4f novice event at Sedgefield the following month, tracking the leaders and ridden to go second on the approach to the straight, unable to get on terms under pressure and losing second after two out, eventually coming home in third behind Just Bobby (beaten 15 lengths). He showed enough on that occasion to think he has a race in him at some point, another in the field bred to come into his own with time/distance, a full brother to useful jumper Tintern Theatre and a half brother to a handful of winners; had a breathing operation since last seen and capable of better, but this will likely prove too much.