David Ord looks ahead to Monday's action and is excited by an Alan King handicapper taking a big drop in class at Hereford.
1. On your Garde
The theme of small-field novice chases continues at Hereford on Monday – with three going to post for the Cotswold Hereford Beginners' Chase.
What more can be done to encourage larger fields for these races remains to be seen – but clearly the current measures aren’t enough. That said while this of limited interest as a betting medium, it does mark the chasing debut of Style De Garde.
He made a deep impression on his British debut at Newbury in December, winning in a style that had members of his Highclere syndicate dreaming of JCB Triumph Hurdle glory.
A thumping at Huntingdon followed and he was-rerouted to the Fred Winter at the Festival where he ran a screamer to finish second to Veneer Of Charm from a mark of 137. Whether that race had taken a toll at Aintree I don’t know, but he was never travelling in the race won bu Lalor.
He’s a talent when things are right though and getting the four-year-old age allowance ought to win this before his sights are again raised in the spring. Harry Herbert and co, dust down the tweed.
2. Hail the King
William H Bonney is a name to note in the attheraces.com Handicap Hurdle on the same card.
Alan King has always held the seven-year-old in high regard and he plied his trade at a much higher level last season, finishing fifth in the Greatwood at Cheltenham before taking in valuable pots at Sandown, Newbury (Betfair Hurdle), Cheltenham (County) and Haydock (Swinton).
He was never quite at his best in any of those contests but the handicapper has been lenient and he’s now 12 pounds lower than when beaten six-and-three-quarter lengths by Elgin almost a year ago to the day.
King isn’t one to think his geese are swans and it might be this is a good time to catch William H Bonney. The rebuilding project is under way.
3. Top Trumps at Plumpton
Paul Nicholls enjoyed a good weekend and his Getaway Trump is an interesting runner in the opening Strong Flavours Catering Novices' Hurdle at Plumpton.
I presume his name derives from the US President rather than the aftermath of an evening of real ale and blue cheese but he was a winning Irish point-to-pointer who was too keen in his bumper races for the Ditcheat team.
Switched to hurdles there was no escaping the promise of his debut run at Chepstowm, patiently ridden as the education continued, he travelled very strongly and was making good headway when pecking on landing three out.
He was wasn’t knocked around after that and with the run under his belt looks the sort to take a big leap forward.
He’ll need to as Commanche Red sets a good standard at the head of the field but Getaway Trump is one to note – and to get in your My Stable tracker.