1.15 Newbury – BADDESLEY KNIGHT (nap)
This looks a typically above-average novice hurdle for the track, with some of useful bumper performers starting out over hurdles against one that shaped well over timber on debut and a pair of newcomers from the same stable.
The selection, trained by Chris Gordon, is a son of Doyen who caught the eye on debut in a well-contested bumper at Fontwell last October, playing up in preliminaries and taking a keen hold in the race itself but looking a real threat inside the final furlong, running green under pressure and that ultimately costing him as he lost out in a three-way finish to Court Liability (beaten a neck). He confirmed that promise when a good second to Morning Vicar in a bumper here some three months later and duly went one better in a 2m 2f event at Plumpton a further three months on, tanking along close up and readily asserting from the two marker despite drifting left to run out a 7-length winner from Scorpion Haze. He showed a useful level of form in bumpers, still rough around the edges last term, having played up in the preliminaries ahead of his debut and then continually drifting left when going clear last time out. His pedigree and physique strongly suggest he’ll have even more to offer over obstacles, likely to find this trip a minimum in time (though can take a keen hold); also makes his hurdling debut/seasonal return against some promising sorts, but no surprise whatsoever to see this son of Doyen go well at potentially decent odds.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Mister Fisher is a son of Jeremy who made a winning start to his career in a bumper at Kempton back in March (5/4 favourite), waited with towards the rear of the field and ridden along with half a mile left to run, taking a while to get rolling but making good progress two furlongs out and sustaining his run to lead inside the final 150 yards, seeing off Manvers House by 1¼ lengths. His only other outing to date came in the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree the following month, tracking the leaders and ridden at the top of the straight, attempting to challenge over two furlongs out but soon on the retreat, fading to come home 13th of 20 behind Portrush Ted (beaten 24 lengths). It could well have been a case of too much too soon for this gelding, set a stiff enough task on just his second outing less than a month on from his debut success, his strength in the market beforehand once again telling a story. He is very much bred to excel over obstacles, being out of a half sister to good jumpers Fix The Rib and Frascati Park; fact he’s sent here for his hurdling debut says a lot, representing the same stable that won this 12 months ago with Claimantakinforgan, and this son of Jeremy really ought to play a leading role here.
Olly Murphy’s Garrettstown is a son of Doyen who made a winning debut in a bumper at Chepstow in April (5/1 chance), waited with in midfield until making smooth progress with over half a mile left to run, travelling best over two furlongs out and ridden to lead approaching the final furlong, forging clear to run out a commanding 8-length winner over Nikap. It’s hard to know quite what he achieved form terms with none of the field having run under Rules previously, but the visual impression he created was a striking one, coasting along in behind the leading pair in the straight and quickly asserting his authority once asked for his effort. He is another that is bred to come into his own over jumps, and he hails from a good stable that has already landed such a contest with a similar sort this term (Thomas Darby at Cheltenham a couple of weeks ago); no surprise to see their representative here go close.
The Colin Tizzard-trained Reserve Tank is a son of Jeremy who debuted in a 2m novices’ hurdle at Chepstow 26 days ago (10/1 chance), waited with in rear until moving closer on the approach to four out, ridden to try and challenge between the third and second last flights, unable to sustain his effort and unconvincing at the final flight as he came home in third behind Rocco (beaten 5¾ lengths). He was conceding experience all round and also made his challenge from further back than was perhaps ideal, so all in all it was a promising introduction; this likely an above-average race of its type, but the experience gained first time out should count for something and he ought to play some sort of role for a stable that sent out the smart Lostintranslation to finish second in this race last year.
The Evan Williams-trained Bold Plan is a son of Jeremy who cost £195,000 after winning a point at Kirkistown in February, and he shaped well on his sole outing under Rules to date in a bumper at Wincanton in April, travelling well in midfield and making smooth progress from the top of the straight, soon leading until overhauled close home by Samarquand and going down by a neck. It was a meritorious effort in defeat, impressing greatly with the manner in which he travelled, putting a good bit of distance between himself and the remainder in what was likely a useful event; bred to jump and has pointing experience, so another interesting contender in a race full of potential.
Olly Murphy also saddles a couple of newcomers, the first of them being the Aidan Coleman-ridden Corinto, a son of Flemensfirth who is the fifth foal of an unraced sister to Listed-placed 2m-2m 4f hurdle/Grade 2-placed 2m-2m 1f chase winner Bedlam Boy and a half sister to 2m 3f hurdle winner Supreme Target out of an unraced sister to dual bumper/smart 2m 4f-3m 1f hurdle (including five times at Grade 2 level)/high-class 2m 3f-3m 1f chase (including at Grade 1 level) winner Cab On Target and Irish 3m Grade 1 chase winner Glenelly Gale. This gelding fetched €44,000 at auction and hails from a good jumping family, but it’s a pedigree that suggests he will come into his own with time/distance; starts out in an above-average event and almost certainly best watched on this occasion.
Stablemate Bucaneros is a son of Stowaway who is a half brother to fairly useful 2m hurdle winner Cajun Fiddle and 2m hurdle/2m 5f chase winner Maid Of Silk, out of a maiden half sister to useful 2m 2f-2m 4f hurdle/very useful 2m 1f-2m 5f chase (including at Listed level) winner Bobowen, bumper/multiple 2m-2m 3f hurdle winner Sun King, triple bumper/dual 2m 3f hurdle winner Golden Odyssey and 2m 6f-2m 7f hurdle winner Shantou Tiger. This gelding sold for €21,000 as a foal at auction and makes a bit of appeal on pedigree, but he looks to be down the yard’s pecking order judged on jockey bookings and is almost certainly here for the experience and nothing more.