Excellent racing at Newbury this afternoon beginning with a maiden hurdle over an extended two-and-a-half miles where Call Me Vic (2.10) can go one better than when runner up at Doncaster back in January.
The selection won a point-to-point in his native Ireland before winning a Warwick Bumper on his British debut over Christmas, and the horse that beat him at Doncaster on his hurdles debut was not beaten far in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham last week.
Nicky Henderson’s My Wigwam Or Yours deserves to win a race but he has had plenty of chances and will need to improve again to win a Newbury maiden. The Alan King-trained mare Our Pollyanna is one to consider going forward although Call Me Vic will be a tough nut to crack.
All five of Mic’s Delight career wins have been gained going right-handed but the yard of Victor Dartnall are slowly finding their feet and he is very well handicapped on his best form. He is reluctantly overlooked, however, in favour of Ziga Boy (2.40) who won over fences in his native France and shaped with promise when runner up on his first start for Alan King over hurdles here last month.
The winner Big Hands Harry has now won two of his three career starts and the only horse to have beaten him to date is his stablemate Royal Boy who won the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle on his only subsequent outing.
The Brown Chamberlin Trophy is a race named after one of the late Fred Winter’s star chasers and the hope is that Ifyousayso (3.45) can land the hat-trick despite being raised 10lbs for his Doncaster success back in January.
The horse he beat Triangular has subsequently won from a 4lb higher mark at Kempton and as long as the ground doesn’t ease significantly he must go close.
The well bred filly Precariously Good (2.30 Lingfield) has finished runner up in both starts on fibresand of late and the hope is that the switch to polytrack sees her in a better light.
She begins her life in handicaps from a lowly mark of 57 and the booking of Richard Hughes would suggest trainer Paul Cole, who also owns the filly, means business.
Hard to see where the pace angle is in the valuable 6f handicap but the hope is that Bainne, who made all at Cork last summer, helps set a decent pace for the veteran Palace Moon (3.35) who is very well treated on his best form and has been running well on the all-weather of late.
Purcell (4.10) reappears over 7f and a chance is taken on his stamina on a track where he has finished first and second in his only two starts to date.
He returns on a career high mark but remains open to more improvement and the Andrew Balding yard remain in good form.
Keep Kicking (4.40) is 3lb better off for the neck he was behind King’s Request over C&D last month and that might be enough to turn the tables in the rematch.
One could argue the latter is the younger more progressive animal but the selection is in the form of his life and Jim Crowley might not wish to give Liam Jones’s charge first run.