Hoping for another Super Saturday
Wayne Hutchinson landed the feature race last Saturday on Medinas and he's hoping to spring a surprise in the Betfair Hurdle.
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Medinas put in a very good performance to win the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las last week and it was great to land a good Saturday prize, though it would be even better to scoop the valuable Betfair Hurdle this weekend!
Before Manyriverstocross, though, I'll reflect on Medinas who relished the conditions and went through the ground very well. I was always confident he would be in the mix as I made my way around.
I took him round the inside as, for me, the ground was as good there as it was anywhere else and there was a strip of unused turf as we were on the Flat track.
I took a lead off Double Ross and got a great passage through. It worked out well.
He's an honest little horse and he's put he's head down where it mattered in the closing stages.
He's got the Coral Cup and the Pertemps as options at the Cheltenham Festival and I suppose it will be ground dependent as to which route he goes down. He''ll go up in the handicap for last week but he's a nice little horse and I'm sure he'll give a good account of himself wherever he turns up.
If I am to win this Saturday's feature as well there are going to be a few happy bookmakers around as Manyriverstocross is a huge price in the Betfair Hurdle. However, I'm hoping he can provide a big shock.
We took him for a racecourse gallop at Kempton a week last Tuesday and I was very happy with his work that day, he gave me a really nice feel. Obviously he has to defy a long absence but he was third off the same mark (135) in this race three years ago and if he retains that sort of ability, as I hope he does, he goes there with an outside chance.
It's a really competitive race as you would expect with Nicky Henderson having four really big players but I reckon the one I'll have to beat is Paul Nicholls' Pearl Swan. He was a useful juvenile, had nice a pipe-opener at Kempton the other day and with Ruby Walsh on board he's bound to be in the mix.
I also ride Kuda Huraa in the opening novices hurdle. He was a bit too keen for me the last day on his hurdling debut at Newbury and I'm expecting better things from him at the same track on Saturday.
He's improved for that run, we've been really happy with him at home with his work and his schooling, and I'm hoping he can put in a decent performance.
He's a typical Flat horse who wants better ground, it was very soft last time, too soft for him. It should be slightly better on Saturday as it was a real battlefield last time.
I've only got two rides on Saturday, I'd love to have more but it's a tough game, but I'll be keeping an eye on the Gold Cup picture with two key trials either side of the Irish Sea.
Silviniaco Conti did nothing wrong at Wetherby and Haydock earlier in the season and he has a favourite's chance in the Denman Chase while the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown is sure to effect the Cheltenham Gold Cup market.
I think I'd have to side with Sir Des Champs as I didn't think Flemenstar stayed the last day, two-miles-five looks his trip to me and I would be wary of siding with him over three miles particularly in soft ground conditions.