There are four UK meetings taking place on Thursday, with a trio of afternoon National Hunt cards dominating at Newcastle, Market Rasen and Taunton, while there’s evening all-weather racing from Chelmsford bringing down the curtain.
We have four selections for consideration and amongst them is hurdling newcomer Hidalgo De L’isle for the ever-reliable Donald McCain/Brian Hughes axis at Newcastle.
- Newcastle 13:05 – Hidalgo De L’isle @ 13/8
- Chelmsford 20:00 – Lady Eros @ 4/1
- Market Rasen 14:410 – Harry Du Berlais @ 3/1
- Taunton 15:35 – Master Blaze @ 11/2
McCain’s runners at Newcastle over the preceding 12 months show a strong strike-rate of 33 per-cent and he’ll be confident that HIDALGO DE L’ISLE (13/8) can provide more Gosforth Park joy in the Novices’ Hurdle (13:05) this afternoon.
The gelding ran well (fourth) in a bumper over C&D on debut in March and bettered that when second at Sedgefield in May.
On that occasion Hughes committed his mount entering the home straight and looked to have made a decisive race-winning move, only for Iltone to come from the pack and collar them late on.
Hidalgo De L’isle may have been in front long enough and, on jumping bow, the champion jockey may elect to play his cards more patiently this time.
His main market rival is Bobby Socks, though Olly Murphy’s charge didn’t cover himself in glory last month when almost refusing to race and then unseating his rider at the first flight. This looks a nice opportunity for Hidalgo De L’isle.
John and Thady Gosden are ticking over nicely of late and can get on the scoresheet at Chelmsford with LADY EROS (4/1) in their penultimate New Holland Handicap (20:00).
The well-bred daughter of War Front had a next-time-out winner behind when scoring on second appearance at Wolverhampton over 7f in May.
She wasn’t spotted again until Leicester (7f, good to firm), where she was held in fourth behind class-dropping improver Bling On The Music from the Ed Walker team.
She makes her move into handicaps this evening and can improve stepping up to the mile for the first time and could well make it 2-2 on the all-weather en route to justifying her position on the Most Napped table via the Betfred Betfinder today.
A winning Irish pointer for Colin Bowe in 2021 (only start), HARRY DU BERLAIS (3/1) typically showed improvement once sent over regulation fences at Bangor in April and can make a winning seasonal comeback in this Novices’ Handicap Chase (14:40) at Market Rasen.
The Shirocco gelding was lightly raced over hurdles and produced much his best showing in four for this trainer when chasing home subsequent winner Bob’s Bar over 2m4½f (good) in that spring run.
His point-to-point win came going right-handed, so reverting to this way around should be no issue and he’s getting lots of weight from these five rivals.
Though his hurdles form is fairly uninspiring, a switch to chasing may see improvement from MASTER BLAZE (11/2) in the Stables Business Park Handicap Chase (15:35) at Taunton.
He’s still a very lightly-raced 4YO and was a winner over fences in France before moving to David Pipe.
He’s got Phillip Armson taking a handy 3lb off for this switch to chasing and he’s getting plenty of weight from those at the head of the betting.
With the Pond House team in flying recent form (27 per cent strike-rate across recent weeks), it’s no leap of faith to expect improvement here.