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Alex Hammond blogs on SSN's newly-acquired Teofilo filly and previews this weekend's card at Naas

Alex Hammond Posted 18th January 2013 view comments

Well, this weekend we are suffering from a severe lack of racing.

As if battling through the snow on the roads wasn't bad enough there isn't much to look forward to on the track either.

All is not lost, though, as Ireland seem to be avoiding the snow so hopefully there should be some quality jumping to look forward to and if the snow abates there may be some competitive all weather racing, too.

Alex during her visit to Andrew Balding's Park House Stables

Alex during her visit to Andrew Balding's Park House Stables

Naas are set to race Saturday and if Fairyhouse pass an inspection Saturday afternoon they also have a decent card on Sunday.

Informative

There are two graded races at Naas. The first is the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle run over 2m 3f and no doubt the ground will be very testing.

Unfortunately, Solwhit is likely to be a short-priced favourite, but this could be informative as far as his future targets are concerned.

I said to Andrew she's the type of filly that if she was a girl walking down the street she would always get a second look!

Alex Hammond
Quotes of the week

Trainer Charles Byrnes has entered him in the World Hurdle for which he is a 28/1 shot with Sky Bet, but he also has Aintree as a possible target and may miss the festival.

He has the dreaded 'bounce factor' to overcome in this race and as a result I wouldn't want to take a very short price about him.

His run on New Year's Eve at Punchestown was his first for almost two years. It was a good effort after a layoff which saw him finish second to Bog Warrior, but it's always a slight concern that they can run a bit flat second time back. He is high class though and incredibly consistent, a thoroughly likeable individual.

I think it might be worth taking a chance on the Willie Mullins trained So Young at the likely prices. He has to give weight to Solwhit, which will be tough and is 33/1 for the World Hurdle. If the favourite is anywhere near his best he will trounce this lot, but this could be the time to take him on.

Opportunity

The other notable race is the Grade 2 Novice Chase over three miles for which seven have been declared but the field has already been reduced to six.

Again there is a likely short-priced favourite in Aupcharlie who also hails from the inform Mullins stable. This one will be ridden by Andrew Lynch for owners Ann and Alan Potts who own Sizing Europe who is also ridden by Lynch.

This horse looks hard to oppose after a smart performance last time out that saw him finish a head second to his better fancied stablemate Back in Focus in a Grade 1 Novice Chase, the first two pulled clear of the rest which is always a good sign. He finished third in the Cheltenham Champion Bumper two years ago and this looks a good opportunity.

Jim Culloty's Lord Windermere is a horse I've always liked and he is the one for the forecast on his first start at three miles which looks like it will suit him well.

There are set to be a competitive cards at Lingfield and Kempton on Saturday if they beat the snow and Fairyhouse will hopefully beat the weather on Sunday, too (as I said they inspect on Saturday afternoon, but were raceable on Friday).

AP McCoy travels to Ireland for three rides on that card for JP McManus and City Slicker looks to have a good chance in Division II of the two-mile Maiden Hurdle. Mullins trains and the horse runs for the first time for McManus having won his bumper in the Magnier colours last time out. He is a lovely prospect.

Quiscover Fontaine is an interesting ride for McCoy too in the 2 mile 1 furlong feature handicap chase. He had his first start since falling in the National in a hurdle race at Leopardstown at the end of last month.

That should have brought him on and he's very capable over this sort of trip and his rating doesn't look too harsh either. It's a very competitive event though.

Smart

These are exciting times at Sky Sports News as we will have our own racehorse this flat season for you all to follow. CHECK OUT THE VIDEO.

I went to Andrew Balding's Park House Stables in the week to pick the horse we will have in training at Kingsclere. From a shortlist of four it went down to a choice between two fillies. The hammer fell on a gorgeous Teofilo filly, who looks a real beauty.

I said to Andrew she's the type of filly that if she was a girl walking down the street she would always get a second look! She is all quality and although she is unlikely to run before the summer she could be the type to win a couple of races and be quite smart.

She's there for us all to enjoy and there will be plenty for you to get involved with, I'll keep you posted here on the blog and there will be plenty of updates on SSN.

With a bit of luck I'll get the chance to sit on her at some point and be able to give you a real insight into her ability and character. She's unnamed at present, but deserves a good name - as someone once said to me 'You don't get a good racehorse with a bad name'! I beg to differ on occasion, but you get the point!

Also, a reminder that I'm riding in the St Patrick's Derby at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday 14 March. If you missed last week's blog it's in memory of a good friend of mine and is for Cancer Research UK.

You can read the full story on my web page - www.justgiving.com/SkySportsAlexH .

I'm riding for fellow sportinglife.com columnist Richard Fahey and we will both be giving it our all in a bid to win the race! I'll give you progress reports here and I'm sure Richard will let you know in his blog if it's fancied!

Selections

So Young in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas

Aupcharlie in the Novice Chase at Naas

City Slicker in the Maiden Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday

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