We’re back on the New Course for the second and final day of the April Meeting and it’s all about the mares this time.
A touch of star quality is provided by the presence of Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead, while we also have three Listed races and a Grade 3 on what is another fantastic day of action.
1.30 (Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle – Listed Race) – THEATRE GLORY
Although she may go off at odds-on and so she isn’t a fancy selection, Nicky Henderson’s Theatre Glory really should have too much for her four rivals in the opening two-and-a-half-mile novices’ hurdle.
With four wins from her 5 starts so far, she has done little wrong to date and she’s only getting better. Theatre Glory has done all of her best work so far on good ground so conditions here look to be ideal. James Bowen rides.
Of the others, Harry Fry’s On My Command is probably best. She’s three from 4 since moving from Amy Murphy’s yard and has done precious little wrong, though it’s hard to say that she’s improving in lumps. Lady Rita is best of the rest.
2.05 (British EBF Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase Final – Listed Race) – FOUND ON
This series final looks nice and competitive, despite the current trend for small fields continuing as just eight of them line up.
Sandy Thomson brings Crossgalesfamegame down and she is not without a chance, while Burrows Diamond looks a solid proposition too for Sue Smith.
Venetia Williams’ Fontaine Collonges should challenge for favouritism and rightly so, along with Little River Bay of the Philip Hobbs yard and we couldn’t put you off them for a place.
The one that stands out however is Found On. Trained nearby by Martin Keighley, Found On put in some under-par efforts this season in all truth until she once again found her form recently.
Bounding clear at Market Rasen three weeks ago, the seven-year-old was impressive under Sean Bowen and she can follow-up now.
2.40 (Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – Listed Race) – NORA THE XPLORER
A nice race over the extended two-and-a-half miles, this handicap hurdle is one in which the bookmakers are finding it hard to separate the runners and so prices look rather juicy. Of course, they’re only juicy if you get it right but we really do like the look of Nora The Xplorer.
Donald McCain is an excellent trainer who has had a fabulous season and he brings this mare down from Cheshire for this race, his only runner of the day.
Nora The Xplorer won easily on her stable debut for McCain at Sedgefield in January before finishing runner-up at the same venue last month.
She faced just two rivals last time out at Haydock but won with her head in her chest and clocked some good speed figures, the type that may prove her to be too good in this company. Panic Attack and Her Indoors were next on the shortlist.
3.15 (Mares’ Handicap Chase – Class 3) – MADERA MIST
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the form of the likely favourite in this contest, Madera Mist, and she is most definitely the one we fear.
Christian Williams’ mare is 4-10 now under rules and won with any amount in hand last time, but she may be vulnerable to one horse at a fair price and that is Tim Vaughan’s Madera Mist.
Although beaten five times in a row, her last victory was at Cheltenham and some very solid money was seen for her from Tuesday night onwards. Jubilympics can also make her presence felt for Emma Lavelle.
3.50 (Fillies’ Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – Grade 3) – ADDOSH
Paul Nicholls’ Grivetana is 2-3 so far, but she doesn’t look too well handicapped and so we were willing to look elsewhere despite her obvious potential.
The strongest form line is that of Addosh and Ile De Jersey and we hope the betting has got this one right.
Addosh was kept off the track for a few months and had a breathing operation, but came back with a bang to beat Ile De Jersey at Huntingdon last month.
There is now a 5lb weight pull in Ile De Jersey’s favour, but in truth Addosh won the race cosily and very much gave the impression that she had more to give and she can once again see off her old rival.
4.25 (Mares’ Handicap Chase – Class 2) – ALICE AVRIL
The money came in yesterday for The Glancing Queen, but she is a very popular mare around here and there are only four runners in this race so we’re not taking it as professional money.
Her form wouldn’t see her have too much in hand on Cut The Mustard or Darling Du Large and in these small races the form doesn’t always hold up.
With those things in mind and considering we preferred her form and speed anyway our money goes on Alice Avril.
Gold Cup hero Henry De Bromhead sends this young five-year-old over from Ireland and it’s noteworthy that Rachael Blackmore also travels to take the ride. Alice Avril is a very consistent sort and should enjoy this ground.
5.00 (Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race – Class 2) – I AM GONNA BE
There are seventeen horses in the bumper, seven of which make their debuts while there are several others with just 1-3 races under their belt.
The most experience mare in the field is Mullenbeg for Milton Harris and we reckon she can make that count to a degree, though Alan King’s Nothingtochance also has a solid each-way chance.
The best of the bunch may just prove to be I Am Gonna Be and that’s our tentative selection.
Michael Scudamore’s runner was impressive at Newcastle last time on the track, she has had time to recover while staying race-fit after 37 days and had no trouble up the hill at Gosforth Park which leads to confidence for the final furlong or two here.