3.35 Warwick – LINKENHOLT (nap)
The selection is a son of Robin Des Champs who is the first foal of a twice-raced maiden sister to 2m 4f-2m 6f hurdle winner Learning The Blues and a half sister to smart French 16.5-2m 3f hurdle (including at Listed level)/2m 1f-2m 3f chase (including at Listed level) winner Change Partner, French 2m 2f Listed hurdle winner Georgia On My Mind (later dam of Diamond King) and four other winners. This gelding is trained by Oliver Sherwood and saw his sales price increase from €30,000 as a foal to €100,000 as a three-year-old, making plenty of appeal on pedigree as the first foal of a half sister to a pair of smart French jumpers, one of whom would later produce Diamond King, a dual bumper scorer and later winner of the Coral Cup. There is enough in his pedigree to suggest he’ll prove capable of making an impact in this sphere, coming from a stable that can have them ready to strike at the first time of asking; no surprise whatsoever to see this well-related son of Robin Des Champs make a winning start here.
3.50 Taunton – PARIS BOUND (nb)
The selection is a son of Champs Elysees who is a half brother to very smart 6-10f winner (including at Group 1 level) Side Glance, Group 3/Listed-placed 8.5-14f winner Rawaki, 12f-2m Flat/very useful 2m-3m hurdle (including at Grade 3 level) winner Taglietelle and 10-14.5f Flat/2m hurdle winner Spectator, out of a 7f 3yo winner. This gelding is trained by Andrew Balding and makes obvious appeal on pedigree, being a half brother to connections’ high-class miler Side Glance and also their very useful middle distance stayer Rawaki, whilst another of his siblings is the very useful hurdler Taglietelle. In a race confined to newcomers and there being only five participants, the likelihood of a falsely-run affair is quite high, and a relative test of speed at this distance would very much favour this Flat-bred gelding. From a good Flat stable has enjoyed a fair amount of success with its rare forays into this sphere, including a winning newcomer in 2011, it wouldn’t at all no surprise to see their representative here make a winning debut.