The Flat season rumbles on in a sense at Huntingdon and Lingfield, while David Pipe looks to be going through the gears ahead of the November Meeting at Cheltenham.
1. Rare bumper hope for Meade
It’s been a long time between drinks when it comes to Martyn Meade’s National Hunt Flat runners, but Cascova bids to complete an remarkable double over six years in the making at Huntingdon today.
Meade is obviously better known for his Flat horses and sent out Advertise to claim the Group One Phoenix Stakes from his impressive Manton base earlier in the year, but you have to go back to 2012 for his most recent bumper horse.
Fairey Delta is the horse in question and she struck gold for the yard at Uttoxeter having been sent off 16/1 in the hands of Wayne Hutchinson.
Cascova is choicely bred as you might expect, being a son of Casamento, but it’s the dam’s side of the pedigree that catches the eye a little more ahead of this National Hunt debut.
Cascova’s dam, Sina Cova, is a half-sister to Jonjo O’Neill’s Kadoun, who never ran in a bumper but did go on to win the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival in the colours of J P McManus.
The once-raced duo of Logan Rocks and San Seb look likely to put their experience to good use at Huntingdon, but Cascova is well worth a second glance under the in-form Tom O'Brien.
2. Bishop jumping to it
It’s been a fine year for Charlie Bishop, racking up 81 winners including Group One success on Accidental Agent in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot for Eve Johnson Houghton.
On Tuesday he gets another shot as a jumps jockey (unplaced on only previous attempt) in the Starsports.bet Handicap Hurdle where he’s joined by the likes of Edward Greatrex, Kieran O’Neill and Josephine Gordon.
Bishop partners the Chris Gordon-trained Vicenzo Mio, whose stable was back among the winners courtesy of the quality Highway One O One at Carlisle on Monday.
Gordon continues to go from strength to strength as a trainer and is no longer feeding on the scraps from other yards with Commanche Red hopefully among the next crop of promising young horses to help take him to the next level.
Vicenzo Mio – snapped up from Paul Nicholls before the start of last season – is looking decidedly well handicapped these days and showed as much when beaten a head at Ffos Las in a handicap chase when last sighted in April.
He returns to timber off a 2lb lower mark today and should at the very least give Bishop a good spin at a venue he knows well from his exploits on the level.
3. Pipe gearing up for big weekend
It's November Meeting week at Cheltenham and as such it's about now we should be expecting some of David Pipe's horses to be absolutely cherry-ripe.
He's got a sackful of entries which can be found here should anyone wish to meticulously trawl through them all, but it wasn't a great surprise to see the lightly-raced King's Sock among the main market springers after he stood his ground for Saturday's feature, the BetVictor Gold Cup.
Today's it's just a pair of runners at Hereford for the Pond House team, though Duc De Beauchene is obviously going to come under the microscope in the green and gold of McManus, and ridden by Barry Geraghty.
He was sent off 5/1 in a Wetherby bumper won by Kalashnikov in March 2017 and last month's hurdling debut run was his only subsequent appearance.
It wasn't a bad effort in the circumstances, then, eventually finishing fifth in a novice hurdle won by Pym. It smacked of a run that was needed, losing a place or two after some sloppy jumps up the home straight, and he should be much sharper on this occasion.