I may end up with egg on my face, but I am astonished at how short My Tent Or Yours is in the market for the valuable Betfair Hurdle (3.35) at Newbury on Saturday – the 7-2 currently on offer is a ridiculously cramped price for an inexperienced novice in such a hot handicap.
The six-year-old is held in high regard by connections – and few would begrudge them a nice prize such after their crack hurdler Darlan suffered a fatal fall at Doncaster on Monday. However, at more rewarding odds I’m siding with RONALDO DES MOTTES.
David Pipe’s charge has only been seen out five times since finishing runner-up in the 2010 renewal of this race, but he caught the eye when fourth on his return from a 20-month absence at Sandown in January. The way he travelled throughout that race left no doubt that he retains plenty of ability, and he looked poised to mount a serious challenge turning for home before lack of race-fitness took its toll, eventually coming home 12½ lengths adrift of winner Lord of House.
Ronaldo des Mottes should come on a bundle for that run – It was essentially the perfect pipe-opener to get him razor sharp for this contest – and his proven ability to cope with the hustle and bustle of big-field handicaps is also a real positive. Everything looks in place for the French import to run a big race.
Pearl Swan is being aimed at the Champion Hurdle and should also be better for his recent reappearance, having finished second in an AW jumpers’ bumper at Kempton. A bigger danger, however, could be posed by Irish raider Cause of Causes who took a step forward when landing the similarly competitive Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot in December. He went on to land a minor three-runner event at Navan and appears to be on an upward curve.
It’s difficult to oppose SILVINIACO CONTI in the Betfair Denman Chase (2.25), as he bids to cement his credentials as a credible challenger for next month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, while SIMONSIG should make light work of his rivals in the Betfair Super Saturday Chase (3.00).
One suspects that duo will be pretty short in the betting, but BARAFUNDLE should be a decent price in the first televised race, the Betfair. Don’t Settle For Less Handicap Hurdle (1.50), and he can gain compensation for his near miss at Doncaster last time.
2.25 Silviniaco Conti
3.35 Ronaldo des Mottes