Catching Pigeons: Go go Goulanes

  • By: Catching Pigeons
  • Last Updated: February 1 2013, 19:56 GMT

If you don't yet know who owner Roger Brookhouse is, you probably soon will do.

Venetia Williams: Fancied to have a winner or two at Sandown
Venetia Williams: Fancied to have a winner or two at Sandown

In recent months, Brookhouse has been busy at some of the biggest National Hunt sales snapping up some of the sport's most exciting young prospects to race in his colours.

A former trainer himself, Brookhouse had to give up looking after his own horses as his business interests expanded, but he has enjoyed some decent success in recent seasons, for example when the fragile Cheltenian won the 2011 Championship Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.

And by signing some meaty six-figure cheques at the sales in recent months, Brookhouse hopes he has secured some future stars who will carry his light blue and pink silks with distinction.

Not that Brookhouse is necessarily the easiest man to train for and it is more his doing than trainer David Pipe's which sees Goulanes head up to Wetherby to make his chasing debut in the Towton Novices' Chase rather than staying over hurdles, where he remains not yet fully exposed.

Put simply, Brookhouse has big hopes for Goulanes and although he is by far the least experienced of these runners with just two spins over hurdles to his name, it wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see him step up to the mark, even against the highly-regarded Super Duty.

Donald McCain thinks the world of Super Duty, not least because his late dad bought the horse. But whether he really wants three-miles-plus in bottomless ground remains to be seen.

Whatever happens to Goulanes, Brookhouse will also be keen to see that Baltimore Rock wins the closing bumper. He paid £160,000 for the horse after he won a bumper for Peter Niven on his only previous start.

Testing conditions won't be a worry for Captain Conan and he should complete his Cheltenham Festival preparations easily enough in the Betfred Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown.

Trainer Nicky Henderson actually has quite a quiet Saturday in store, but takes Tetlami on the stable's annual jaunt north of the border to Musselburgh on Sunday to take on Overturn. He has taken to fences with enthusiasm and even if he can't get on terms with the favourite should at the very least give his trainer a steer over his Arkle plans with Simonsig.

Henderson also runs Roberto Goldback in the three-mile Betfred Masters Chase at Sandown, but he may struggle to handle the testing ground and could be put away after this to wait for Aintree.

Paul Nicholls has had precious few runners in recent weeks while his team go through their annual 'flu vaccination programme, but Keppols Hill should go well in the same race. He's not obviously well treated for his handicap debut but stamina shouldn't be an issue - he could even end up in the four-miler at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

But also very much one to go on the shortlist is Summery Justice, whose trainer Venetia Williams could enjoy a good afternoon's work.

Summery Justice has been off for a while, but is ready to fire having had to miss a couple of other possible engagements in recent weeks due to the weather.

Also well fancied is the Williams-trained Kapga de Cerisy in the following contest. He will appreciate moving up to two and a half miles having just lacked a change of gear back at the minimum trip last time.

Another stablemate, Shangani must go well in the closing contest. Nothing came to light after his slightly flat performance at Chepstow last time, but he is in good form at home and worth a chance to atone.

Marco Botti will finally start to move some of his massive team across to his new stables on the Snailwell Road in Newmarket this week after a few teething problems with the purpose-built facilities.

However the disruption hasn't had any effect upon the form of the stable and De Rigueur is the big fancy in the Lingfield Park Owners Group Handicap on the all-weather.

He has gone up the weights for his two successes but probably isn't done with yet based upon his homework.

One to look out for next week is Zuider Zee, who became a bit of a monkey with John Gosden on the Flat, but whose schooling for John Ferguson has reportedly gone really well.

He'll handle soft ground better than plenty of the ex-Darley recruits the trainer acquires and might be worth a chance first time out at Doncaster on Monday.


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