Wednesday 22 April 2015

Cruising Bye Can Wave Rivals Farewell

At the time of writing, Sean Bowen is just one winner ahead of Nico de Boinville in the battle for the Conditional Jockeys’ Championship 2014/2015, which ends on Friday, so it’s reasonable to his assume that his father, Peter, has prepared some ‘ammunition’ for the rest of the week.

In the Yorkshire & Cheshire Finance Handicap Chase (2.10) at Warwick on Thursday, Bowen Sr. saddles Cruising Bye, who may be capable of supplementing his win over 3 miles at Chepstow earlier this month, despite being 2lb out of the handicap proper. Bowen Jr. has ridden off a weight as low as 8st 13lb in the last twelve months, so should have no problem claiming all of his 3lb allowance and stepping up to 3 miles 5 furlongs could be what the 10-year-old needs at this stage of his career.

The son of Alflora has looked a shade one-paced over 3 miles, and even over 3 miles 2 furlongs, on recent starts, so an extra three furlongs might show him in a better light, especially as he seems equally effective on the prevailing good going as under more testing conditions. He steps up in class off a 4lb higher mark than at Chepstow, but this would hardly be the strongest race for the grade and, at around 3/1 in the early price lists, Cruising Bye looks a decent bet to take Sean Bowen one closer to the title.

Selection: Warwick 2.10 Cruising Bye (Nap) to win

Sunday 12 April 2015

Same Old Story for Catchin Time

Faster ground than he’s encountered for a while is a slight doubt about Catchin Time in the Le Garcon D’Or Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (5.30) at Kelso on Monday but, otherwise, Laura Hurley’s 7-year-old has plenty for going for him. The Chineur gelding steps into 0-115 company for the first time since joining his current yard in December, but has shown progressive form since beaten in a selling hurdle at Leicester and can keep up the good work.

He was, in fact, a maiden after 13 starts over hurdles in Ireland, but the change of scenery has evidently done him a power of good and a further 6lb rise in the weights may not prevent him from completing a four-timer. Warwickshire permit holder Laura Hurley has no qualms about the ground and, indeed, said after his last run, “…he’ll better on better ground, so we'll wait a few weeks until it dries up before we run him again.” An absence of eight weeks shouldn’t inconvenience him and he can justify odds of around 5/2 in the early price lists.

Selection: Kelso 5.30 Catchin Time to win

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Classy Hargam Can Gain Compensation

In the Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (2.15) at Aintree on Thursday, Hargam fared best of those who ran in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last month and can resume winning ways. The Sinndar gelding readily beat Starchitect (subsequently fourth in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) by 6 lengths on his previous start at Musselburgh so, provided he’s sufficiently recovered from his Cheltenham exertions, he looks the clear form pick.

On the form book, he appears to have the measure of most, if not all, of those that ran at the Cheltenham Festival and may have most to fear from Bristol De Mai and Intense Tango, who both sidestepped the Festival after finishing second and third in the Premier Kelso Hurdle in February. Realistically, Bristol De Mai, who’s officially rated 3lb inferior to Hargam, is probably the main danger, but Nicky Henderson has strength in depth in the juvenile hurdlers division this season and Hargam looks decent value at 5/6 with Betway in the early price lists.

Selection: Aintree 2.15 Hargam to win