Rory Delargy fancies a Grade 1 Chase winner to land a novice hurdle at Wetherby.
"Halley was emulating no less than Long Run when landing the Prix Maurice de Gillois over today's trip at Auteuil in November 2011, and that race deserves its billing as the champion chase for juveniles."
One of the more interesting races at Wetherby today is the two-and-three-quarter miles novices' hurdle at 15:20, in which the morning favourite is the Warren Greatrex-trained Westward Point. He's a horse I'm keen to take on, as he looked to have plenty go his way when winning at Warwick last time, racing in a clear lead as the others ignored him, and almost certainly flattered by holding on to beat Ballylifen with nothing to spare. The market leaders in that contest failed to fire, and it's form to treat with a degree of caution.
Of the others, a pair of successful chasers stand out in the shape of Neptune Equester and Halley. The former was last seen in Haydock's Grand National Trial in February, but had perviously won a handicap hurdle over C&D from My Arch, but it's Halley who is of most interest. His debut season in the UK was a major let-down, but his form in France is absolutely tip-top, and he's worth chancing having been given a lengthy break.
Halley was emulating no less than Long Run when landing the Prix Maurice de Gillois over today's trip at Auteuil in November 2011, and that race deserves its billing as the champion chase for juveniles. It's hard to believe that the son of Loup Solitaire has trained off completely, and he wouldn't be the first French import who has taken time to acclimatise. He won't be winning any King Georges, but it will be hugely disappointing if a novice hurdle run at a track such as Wetherby isn't within the compass of this once-exciting prospect, and he looks the clear pick in receipt of weight from his main rivals.
The Slad stable may well make it a double on the day, as Pleasure Island looks an intriguing newcomer in the closing bumper (17:05). Tom George doesn't get the reputation he deserves as a trainer of bumper runners, but his record reads very well in this sphere, with 5 of his last 20 runners in bumpers winning, and half of them in the frame. His newcomers rarely need the experience, and the Heron Island gelding is a half-brother to the useful dual bumper winner Be My Pleasure, an impressive winner on debut.
Bob's Lady Tamure, who was a good second on her debut at Ayr, and ex-pointer Silentplan, who is out of a half-sister to smart hurdler/chaser Trying Again, are both respected, but Pleasure Island makes plenty of appeal with his yard in better form than most, and he should go well at a price.
Both at Wetherby