Heltenham to hit Newbury target

There are few better target trainers around than Dan Skelton and he looks to have set his sights on Newbury on Saturday where Heltenham is the pick of his team in the Run For Your Money At BetVictor Handicap Chase.

Trainer : Sir Michael Stoute
Trainer : Sir Michael Stoute Picture: (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Since finishing well beaten on his debut for the yard in a novice hurdle at Lingfield in November 2021, he has been a model of consistency and fences appear to have brought out plenty of improvement.

Second on his first two attempts over the bigger obstacles, he made the journey up to Newcastle on Boxing Day to beat Just Don't Know, who has won twice since.

More recently at Ffos Las, with 7lb more on his back, he was even more impressive, winning by four lengths but it could have been double that with a little effort.

He is up another 7lb, so a stone higher than at Newcastle, but while this is by far the deepest race he has run in, he gets weight off all his rivals and most of them have seen better days.

Another facing his toughest task to date is Calgary Tiger in the Colleagues Celebration Of Business Handicap Chase.

Trained by William de Best-Turner, this eight-year-old showed the square root of nothing in bumpers and novice hurdles, with his shortest starting price being 50-1.

However, off the track for 712 days, he was a 50-1 winner at Wincanton in February and then avoided the dreaded bounce factor when following up at Newbury a month later.

Quite rightly the handicapper did not go too mad after his first win, only putting him up 4lb, but he is now 10lb higher than at Newbury which is fair enough.

He is a free-going front-runner and it remains to be seen what happens if he is harried for the lead, but off a feather weight, there is a chance he may simply run his rivals into submission once more.

Ruby Island probably should be heading to the British EBF BetVictor 'National Hunt' Mares' Novices' Hurdle on the back of another win and it is no surprise to see Mark Walford apply some cheekpieces.

She had looked above average in winning at Ayr and Wetherby and it usually takes a very smart one to defy a double penalty.

That she only went down by a neck at Ayr last time out, having made a mistake three out and drifted after the last, against a mare who had also won two but was crucially ridden by a 5lb-claiming conditional jockey, speaks volumes.

At Kelso, Ryan Potter 's Jane Du Berlais rates the strongest bet of the day in the BetVictor Herring Queen Series Final Mares' Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

This promising five-year-old will probably not be seen at her best until tackling fences, but she is already useful over timber.

A victory over the reopposing Bonttay on her first completed start demonstrated that point, after she unfortunately slipped up first time out this season.

Since then Bonttay has won and been second, while Jane Du Berlais has had just the one outing, against Ruby Island at Wetherby.

While Ruby Island proved a tough nut to crack, Jane Du Berlais was not disgraced and only lost second late on, beaten less than six lengths off level weights.

This £50,000 pot looks to have been the plan since and crucially Potter has gone to the trouble of booking JJ Slevin for the mount.

Donald McCain has an interesting new recruit at Bangor in Rock Hurley, who debuts for the trainer in the Broxton Gates Handicap Hurdle.

He failed to complete on his first three outings in France before winning his next two by an aggregate of 21 lengths.

Whether a mark of 125 is an accurate estimate of his ability is the question, but he would not have to be a star to defy it.

The James Fanshawe-trained Ensued faces a couple of previous winners in the talkSPORT Powered By Fans Novice Stakes at Lingfield, but he arguably possesses the strongest piece of form.

He finished third on his debut at Salisbury behind Sir Michael Stout's Circle Of Fire, who is a potential Derby colt, with the runner up winning multiple times since for a rating of 90.

Ensued dwelt on leaving the stalls, so to get within six lengths was encouraging.


BANGOR: 1.23 Si Elegant, 1.58 William Ewart, 2.33 Blueberry Wine, 3.08 Homme Public, 3.43 Rock Hurley, 4.18 Methodtothemadness, 4.53 Scherbobalob.

CURRAGH: 1.40 Spanish Cara, 2.15 Hurricane Ivor, 2.50 Bold As Love, 3.25 Lattam, 3.57 Insinuendo, 4.32 Broadhurst, 5.07 Lofoten, 5.37 Peerless.

KELSO: 1.50 Euchan Falls, 2.25 Theme Tune, 3.00 JANE DU BERLAIS (NAP), 3.35 Forward Plan, 4.10 Caithness, 4.45 Sao, 5.20 Coniston George.

LINGFIELD: 1.45 Where's Tom, 2.20 Ensued, 2.55 Miss Mai Tai, 3.30 Badri, 4.05 Kerdos, 4.40 Mashaan, 5.15 El Hombre.

NEWBURY: 1.30 Atlanta Brave, 2.05 Heltenham, 2.40 Ruby Island, 3.15 Angel's Dream, 3.50 Gentleman's Relish, 4.25 Calgary Tiger, 5.00 Elegant Escape.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.30 You Saw Brigadoon, 6.00 Goldkit, 6.30 Exquisitely, 7.00 Dubai Crystal, 7.30 Aberama Gold, 8.00 My Boy Jack, 8.30 Twistaline.

DOUBLE: Jane Du Berlais and Heltenham.

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