GOLDEN BIRTHDAY (4.05) should leave his disappointing comeback run behind now tackling a much longer trip on easy ground at Newbury.
The seven-year-old ran up an incredible sequence of six wins from seven starts last season but found 1m 4f too sharp at Lingfield on his return to action. Clearly much better was anticipated as Golden Birthday was sent off 2-1 favourite but this 2m 2f test is more his cup of tea. He has won at even longer distances over hurdles so stamina should not be an issue.
Coeur De Lion was despatched 5-4 favourite for a York handicap in the autumn but was a one-paced third to October Storm (Kempton third on Wednesday evening). Alan King’s dual-purpose gelding is 5lb higher here but the trip is okay.
Look My Way has been in grand form over hurdles and hammered one of today’s opponents Champagne Champ by 22 lengths on heavy ground at Ffos Las on the Flat last September.
BOMBYX (4.35) may turn over a couple of slightly better fancied rivals in the Conditions Stakes.
James Fanshawe’s three-year-old won at Leicester in October, building on his promising debut (third) at Newmarket. The son of Sir Percy will be even better suited by this longer 1m 2f trip.
Tigre Du Terre has an official rating of 102 which sets the standard and he ran John Gosden’s hotpot Crossed Baton close at Kempton at the end of March.
Bartholomeu Das strolled home by 13 lengths from some modest rivals at Wolverhampton but could be anything this season.
Rastrelli, a dual winner for Charlie Appleby, finished well behind another of today’s rivals Bon Scotte at Goodwood.
At Bath this evening COWBOY SOLDIER (6.45) won’t be much of a price but Robert Cowell’s colt will take a deal of beating. He reeled in Midsummer Knight at Newcastle and that horse scored with a bit in hand at Wolverhampton next time out..
THEINVAL (3.45) can go one better than last year and land the Listed Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase at Ayr.
Nicky Henderson’s tough gelding turns up regularly in some of the most competitive handicaps of the season and is always knocking at the door.
It was no exception this season, with Theinval running fourth to Le Prezien at the Cheltenham festival before chasing home Bentelimar at Aintree last week.
Twelve months ago he found Two Taffs too strong in this event but races off a 7lb lower mark. Theinval is so durable he was turned out 24 hours later to almost land the Future Champion Novices’ Chase, a faltering leap at the last fence letting in Cloudy Dream.
SPIDER’S BITE (3.15) should give a good account in the three-mile novices’ handicap hurdle sponsored by Donald Trump (!)
Henry Daly’s gelding took the measure of a decent sort in Kilfilum Cross at Ludlow in February and that runner-up has come out and won twice since, the latest off a 136 rating at Kempton earlier this month. Spider’s Bite has got in here off 130, so his chance is pretty obvious on the figures.
There was a 50-1 turn-up in the Coral-sponsored mares’ handicap hurdle last year but it should be more punter-friendly this time round with several big southern yards in attendance.
Harry Fry and Noel Fehily team up with LAMANVER ODYSSEY (4.45), disqualified after edging out in-form The Delray Monkey at Haydock. To add injury to insult the handicapper has raised her 5lb but she looks an improving sort.
This three-mile trip is an unknown but she won over 2m 5f at Wincanton back in November.
Top weight Hitherjacques Lady is up 4lb for her brave second to Clyne in the mud at Uttoxeter. That is the best form on display but drying ground would be a worry.
- Newbury 4.05 – Golden Birthday (3-1, bet365)
- Newbury 4.35 – Bombyx (3-1, bet365)
- Bath 6.45 – Cowboy Soldier (6-4, bet365)
- Ayr 3.45 – Theinval (3-1, William Hill)
- Ayr 3.15 – Spider’s Bite ew (15-2, Ladbrokes)
- Ayr 4.45 – Lamanver Odyssey ew (11-2, bet365)
Johnb's Friday Tips
- Newbury 3:35 – Global Applause 7-2 NB
- Newbury 4:35 – Bombyx 3-1 NAP
- Newbury 5:05 – Adorable 12-1 eachway 1/5 odds 1-2-3