EBONY JEWEL (1.35) could be quite an exciting northern recruit to the hurdles game at Ayr today.
He was quite headstrong in his two bumper starts last season, forging 12 lengths clear at Ayr in March. Nick Alexander’s gelding was quite well backed for the competitive bumper at Aintree’s Grand National fixture but faded into sixth behind the Paul Nicholls-trained McFabulous. He might be hard to peg back.
Leading Flat owner Fitri Hay doesn’t have many jumpers and Order Of Thistle goes hurdling on the back of a Sedgefield bumper success four weeks ago when taking the measure of Peter Bowen’s hotpot Dalkingstown. There is better to come from Taking Flight and Witness Protection.
AURORA THUNDER (1.00) has sound prospects in the opening Mares’ Maiden Hurdle. She filled third place behind Le Milos at Kelso last month, having six lengths in hand of Gennady, a comfortable scorer at Kelso on Saturday. Elle Est Grande was no match for classy Echiquier at Hexham but will find this company less demanding.
THREE IS COMPANY (2.10) represents Gordon Elliott in the Novices’ Handicap Chase and he brings solid hurdling form into this 2m 4f contest. The five-year-old led until the final flight when third at Downpatrick last time, with 15 lengths back to a previous bumper winner.
In the concluding bumper Elliott introduces a nicely-bred gelding in MR CAPLAN (3.55), the mount of Richard Johnson, and money for his newcomer would be significant. Legal Beagle is another with an attractive Flat pedigree and Nicky Richards often introduces a promising type at Ayr.