Catching Pigeons: Worth a bet
Our Catching Pigeons column is back to pin its colours to the mast of Bobs Worth in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
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Tony McCoy is right when he says if Bobs Worth is to be considered a Gold Cup contender, he will need to win Saturday's Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
It's a good job therefore that that is exactly what Barry Geraghty thinks about Bobs Worth and his final piece of work at the start of the week gave the rider every confidence of a big run on his reappearance.
What seems to have been forgotten is that we only saw the real Bobs Worth once last season - after he'd had a breathing operation at Cheltenham. He was hardly right at all for the whole campaign, hence why Henderson roughed him off for the season immediately afterwards.
Furthermore this year's second-season chasers have already been seen to good effect this season with Al Ferof and Silviniaco Conti claiming big prizes.
With the ground on the chase course drying out all the time, Bobs Worth will run a big race.
Alan King's Hold On Julio must be considered a leading player, with the trainer having purposefully kept something in reserve to work on since his recent reappearance. He is a thorough stayer and his recent work has been as good as ever.
If King is to get on the scoresheet though, it may be stablemate Call Me A Star who is needed to strike in the Listed mares' hurdle.
King loves this lady to pieces and thinks she could go right to the top against her own sex. She impressed on her hurdling debut and continues to delight her trainer.
Stablemate Godsmejudge wouldn't be without a chance either in the following novice handicap chase.
But he may have to play second fiddle to Global Power, representing the resurgent Oliver Sherwood stable. Sherwood has had this race in mind ever since the horse passed the post in October and he has managed to resist a couple of tempting alternative targets since.
Ballypatrick is another to consider at a bigger price in the same race. He should appreciate the galloping track and test of stamina. A big run from Fighting Flynn in the second race at Towcester would be a positive pointer to his chances.
The closing Jim Joel Trophy looks an interesting choice of race for Ulck Du Lin.
He's had an interesting career to date, attracting plenty of headlines in the build up to Cheltenham but performing poorly. He was far too free for his own good on his reappearance at Stratford, but that didn't surprise Paul Nicholls and he has come on for the run.
Dropped right back in trip, Nicholls, who has been fighting a 'flu bug all week, believes that there is more to come. Could it be Ulck Du Lin who gives the trainer a welcome tonic?
Green Flag has work to do to make up ground with Maggio, but don't rule out a surprise reversal of placings in the French Furze Hurdle, if Newcastle beats the weather forecast.
Trainer Lucinda Russell rates Green Flag highly and he might not have been quite firing on all cylinders when beaten by Maggio last time out.