Friday February 10
Messire des Obeaux was clearly not suited by the tight Huntingdon track yesterday and Alan feels there in no way that his chance of Neptune glory at Cheltenham next month diminished, so the mood was still upbeat at Barbury this morning when we discussed our runners for what looks like being a busy week-end.
We already have a Hennessy on the mantelpiece at Barbury, and it would be brilliant if William H Bonney came back from Newbury tomorrow night with the Betfair trophy, the richest handicap hurdle in Europe.
Alan said:”Ideally, I would have liked another week as he only ran a fortnight ago at Cheltenham, but I was pleased how well he won that day. He travelled strongly and really knuckled down at the end, and he seems to have come out of the race ok, so we are taking our chance with the 5lb penalty.
“Azzerti returns in the opening novice hurdle. He has been off since mid-December at Towcester, where he made up for a slightly disappointing run at Sandown, but he seems in good form and will hopefully run well.
“Our other Newbury runner is Kayf Mariner in the Listed bumper. He, too, has been off since December, but he won well at Bangor, despite being a bit keen, and we like him a lot so he deserves to try his luck in this grade.”
We have Paddy’s Runner (Luke Morris) going on the Flat at Wolverhampton, while on Sunday four head down the M5 to Exeter.
Alan added:”We kick off with Fortified Bay in the novice hurdle. He over-jumped at the first on his hurdling debut at Bangor and all but came down, so, hopefully, he can put that right a he has been on good form at home.
“Carraig Mor makes his long-awaited return in the graduation chase. He was a Grade 2 novice chase winner in 2014 but has been off the track for two years so will need this race, but we have him entered up at Cheltenham and he schooled well on Monday so are keen to get him started again.
“Minella Charmer attempts to put Wetherby behind him when he runs in the novice chase. He was travelling well when he fell three out up there, but, though it took a while for him to get over that tumble, he also schooled well on Monday and seems fine.
“Finally, we have Harefield taking on older horses in the bumper. He is one we like and are keen to get rolling, and, having been balloted out at Kempton earlier in the week, we have re-routed here.”