Taquin the class act in Newbury showpiece
THE former Colin Bowe-trained Clondaw Kaempfer is favourite to complete a hat-trick since his switch to Don McCain's Cheshire yard in the Grade One Challow Hurdle at Newbury today.
Beaten on both his point-to-point starts in the spring, the Oscar four-year-old first showed his true potential when causing a 20/1 shock in what was a decent bumper at Fairyhouse at Easter.
Purchased for a princely £130,000 subsequently, he was a ready winner on his hurdling bow at Aintree, before grinding out another result at Haydock.
Clondaw Kaempfer doubtless has more scope to progress further, but there is very little that you can take from his form to say that he has won anything other than modest races thus far. Priced at around 7/4, he is certainly opposable.
Paul Nicholls' Easter Day will be many people's idea of an alternative, having won both his hurdle starts to date. Nonetheless, he was beaten in two ordinary bumpers previously, and one line of form suggests that Taquin Du Seuil may have his measure.
When Jonjo O'Neill's French recruit was beaten by My Tent Or Yours at Ascot after sluicing up in a Uttoxeter maiden, he had Ubak eight lengths behind while conceding 8lb. Ubak was slightly further behind Easter Day at Ascot subsequently, but was in receipt of 3lb less, and wasn't really beaten any more authoritatively.
The sense that both My Tent Or Yours – which contests today's concluding conditions race – and Taquin Du Seuil are two cracking prospects was driven home when the latter then cruised home in a Grade Two on heavy ground at Sandown. At around 5/2, then, AP McCoy's mount is value to confirm that impression in similar conditions now.
As well as the JP McManus-owned My Tent Or Yours, Nicky Henderson saddles last season's Huntingdon bumper scorer Chatterbox in the last. Both are likely to feature prominently but, notwithstanding that he must concede 5lb all round, it will be disappointing if My Tent Or Yours doesn't also follow up.
The card's main handicap is the Betfred Goals Galore Handicap Hurdle. A relatively low-key affair, the two-mile five-furlong contest features proven mud-lover Bakbenscher, which brought his unbeaten run to four on ground officially described as heavy, when powering away to land a similar contest at Haydock last week.
With just a 6lb penalty, Alan King's runner has obvious claims. Nonetheless, at nine, he has limited scope for improvement, and has never won off this sort of mark.
El Dancer is another likeable sort that should be bang there at the death, but it is hard to avoid concluding that this should belong to Salubrious. In three starts last term, Paul Nicholls' son of Beneficial won a bumper and a novice hurdle.
He didn't run for most of a year before posting a perfectly respectable effort to be fourth in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow in October, when he beat Bakbenscher by more than three lengths off a 3lb lower mark.
That was a competitive affair, and he followed up at the start of the month with an equally solid runner-up finish at Newbury behind the well-regarded At Fishers Cross over two furlongs shorter than today.
Salubrious reappears now off a 4lb higher mark. However, when you factor in the useful Harry Derham's 5lb claim, he will meet Bakbenscher on 4lb better terms.
As a still unexposed five-year-old with just 9st 13lb on his back, that is a situation that Salubrious should be able to take advantage of now.
Best Bet: Taquin Du Seuil