Un Temps ready to Pour it on
Our Jack Nicol provides a horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle at Haydock.
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Un Temps Pour Tout
Un Temps Pour Tout makes his eagerly-anticipated UK debut here and comes with a lofty reputation, having become the second most expensive jumper ever bought at a public auction last November.
The Robin Des Champs gelding won a Grade Three hurdle on his penultimate start at Auteuil in September and that is the strongest form on offer here alongside his third place finish in a Grade One contest last time out.
The five-year-old was seven lengths in arrears to Paul Nicholls' Ptit Zig that day and that horse has gone on to frank that form with a solid second under top-weight in the Ladbroke Hurdle last month.
The £450,000 that Professor Caroline Tisdall and Bryan Drew shelled out to get this horse is a mountain of money by anyone's standards, but under the care of David Pipe this horse looks to have a big chance of paying back some of his hefty price tag with victory here.
Zamdy Man is unbeaten over hurdles so far this season and was fairly impressive when taking a Listed contest over course and distance last time out, form which received a boost when the second-placed Oscar Hoof subsequently won on his next start in comfortable fashion.
The five-year-old is officially rated 136 and has something to find on that basis, but trainer Venetia Williams has her string in good order at the moment having already saddled 10 winners already in 2014.
Meadowcroft Boy bids to take his unbeaten record to four here having sluiced in by 21 lengths at Carlisle last time out.
The Kayf Tara gelding was a useful bumper performer last season, following up his debut success at Newcastle with victory in a valuable DBS NH flat race last April.
Being blunt, the form of his Carlisle success probably doesn't stand up to much but he won very easily and is another open to further improvement given his lack of experience.
Stand To Reason
Stand To Reason's victory by 16 lengths at Newbury last time out rather flatters him as Wilde Blue Yonder departed at the last when the pair were just set to scrap it out. It would be hard to suggest that the six-year-old would definitely have won had his rival stood up that day but he kept his unbeaten record intact nonetheless.
The Danehill Dancer gelding was 95-rated on the flat and seemed to find his best form in testing conditons having recorded two victories on soft ground while his aforementioned success at Newbury also came on heavy going, so conditions are likely to be in his favour here.
Winning pointer River Clare is playing for place money at best here for trainer John O'Shea. The six-year-old finished a 27-length fourth to Stellar Notion in a bumper at Bangor last time out and will have to step up appreciably to take a hand here.
Abracadabra Sivola is officially rated 115 having acquired a handicap mark following his third run over timber last time out. The four-year-old is probably capable of improvement on the form he has shown so far and his stable are in hot form, but it's a little surprising to see him pitched into this contest rather than heading for easier targets in handicap company.
Last week's Sky Bet Supreme Trial rather muddied the waters in regards to the showpiece finale at the Cheltenham Festival, but this week's trial could prove more informing, especially if UN TEMPS POUR TOUT can confirm his French form on his UK debut.
David Pipe's charge could potentially go right to the very top based on his form in France last year, the five-year-old is 11lb clear on official ratings with chief danger Zamdy Man and you'd expect the race is his to lose.
The Heavy ground should pose no problems for the Robin Des Champs gelding having won twice in very testing conditions, while it is worth noting that Cinders And Ashes won this trial race before going on to land the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' at Cheltenham in 2012.
Stand To Reason is not without a chance having taken his record to two form two at Newbury last time out, the ground will be very testing at Haydock and this gelding loves that sort of ground and he can get the better of Zamdy Man for the minor honours.