Scott's hot streak can continue at Huntingdon
Maiden hurdle winners Fintan and Theredballoon set the standard in a modest two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdle at Huntingdon tomorrow.
Both horses won bumpers on their racecourse debuts, though they took time to get off the mark over flights, each of their jumping successes coming at the fifth attempt. With that in mind, it may be worth finding something with which to oppose them.
Valley Lad, another that obliged on its first start in a bumper a year ago, has obvious potential, but Bowntobebad is the one that appeals for an in-form Jeremy Scott.
A small-scale, but shrewd Somerset operator, Scott has had a remarkable five winners from his last six runners, so his representatives demand special attention right now.
Bowntobebad made his debut for Scott in a bumper 11 months ago, having easily won an English point-to-point on his only previous start.
When he made the transition to a national hunt flat race on Wincanton's quick circuit, he took a while to find his feet and also met trouble in running half-a-mile from home.
Nonetheless, the Alderbrook gelding, due to be ridden by Noel Fehily here, kept galloping, eventually beaten just over four lengths in third.
Since then, while Bowntobebad has not run again, the form of the race has held up reasonably well and the switch to hurdles over this sort of trip ought to be right up his street.
Also at Huntingdon, Fehily's Charlie Mann-based colleague David Crosse gets the nod on Hope Point in the opening fillies' hurdle. Of the seven runners in this, three are jumping hurdles for the first time and none of that trio's Flat form inspires.
Hope Point's third on his jumping bow at Newton Abbot stands out in comparison to the remaining four contenders. Captain Sharpe, the winner at Newton Abbot, has won again since, while the runner-up Alfraamsey is now unbeaten in three.
Outsider to note
at likely double-figure odds, Learn is deserving of a speculative each-way venture in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud tomorrow.
Impressive when getting off the mark in a decent maiden at Leopardstown in August, the Ballydoyle colt ran below expectations when just fourth of five behind Camelot at Doncaster last week.
But he is better than that, and it was never going to be easy to cut out the running in a Group One on his first start for nearly three months.
With the benefit of the run, and in a year when Irish juveniles are winning all round them, Colm O'Donoghe's mount could go very close as Aidan O'Brien tries to win the one-mile Group One for a third year on the spin.
Huntingdon 12.55 -- Hope Point
Huntingdon 3.00 -- Bowntobebad
Saint-Cloud 1.30 -- Learn
Leopardstown 4.10 -- Shela House
130,000 What the Peter Fahey-trained Obviously sold for in guineas at Newmarket sales on Thursday. The Cork and Dundalk winner is bound for California.
52 Raymond Carroll's long-standing record tally for an apprentice, which Joseph O'Brien had bettered by three after landing the first at Dundalk last night. Carroll, who won the title in the 1970s, is the father of last year's joint- champion, Gary.
21 The number of days whip ban that the owner/rider Paul McMahon incurred in London on Thursday, prompting him to declare that he is "finished with racing."
Quote of the week
"If I was to compare her to anything, I'd say she reminds me of Sonia O'Sullivan. She's lean and mean like a greyhound and there's not a pick on her!" -- A bang in-form Mick Winters after Missunited won the bumper at Punchestown on Wednesday.
Three things we
learned this week
1In another week overshadowed by the whip debacle in Britain, Ruby Walsh's announcement that he would curtail his cross-channel forays after incurring a five-day ban at Aintree on Saturday stole the headlines. The former champion's stance cost him a winner for Paul Nicholls' new owner Graham Wylie at Chepstow on Tuesday and he may well have ridden another in the same colours had he opted to go to Fontwell on Thursday. No surprise, then, that his position had softened by yesterday, when his sole mount for Nicholls at Wetherby was successful. Proof, were it needed, that willingly passing up winners is not easily done, regardless of the grievance.
2 A day is a long time when it comes to Irish weather. Last Saturday, Sunday's Lingstown point-to-point had to be postponed because conditions were too firm at the Wexford venue. At the Dromahane fixture in Cork 24 hours later, racing was abandoned because of torrential wind and rain. On Tuesday, following the floods in the greater Dublin area, Punchestown was officially unfit for racing, yet it went ahead without a hitch the following day. The general manager Dick O'Sullivan quipped that 50,000 gallons of water had been shifted off the track, and you'd nearly believe it.
3 JP McManus and Christy Roche remain a potent combination when the money is down. Groody Hill turned up for a handicap chase at Punchestown on Wednesday having never been beaten less than 10 lengths in eight previous starts. He was backed from 14/1 into 9/2, and duly improved to skate up. They knew!
Monday: Wexford, Kempton, Plumpton, Wolverhampton (AW)
Tuesday: Exeter, Kempton (AW), Redcar
Wednesday: Chepstow, Kempton* (AW), Nottingham, Warwick
Thursday: Thurles, Musselburgh, Southwell (AW), Towcester, Wolverhampton* (AW)
Friday: Down Royal, Dundalk* (AW), Fontwell, Ffos Las, Hexham, Wolverhampton* (AW)
Saturday: Down Royal, Doncaster, Kelso, Sandown, Wincanton
Sunday: Cork, Leopardstown, Ffos Las, Market Rasen