Thursday 2 March 2023 11:22, UK
It will be interesting to see whether a step up in trip does the trick for Hyland in the Play Pick 6 At BetVictor Handicap Hurdle at Newbury.
Nicky Henderson's grey won as he liked on his handicap debut at Warwick 12 months ago and while he was beaten on his next couple of starts, he rounded off his campaign with another victory at Uttoxeter. He returned from just over six months off the track at Taunton in early December and there is no doubt that his finishing effort was disappointing as he was ultimately tailed off.
That being said, perhaps he just badly needed the run on that occasion and some slight relief from the handicapper means he lines up only 3lb above his last winning mark. Hyland has proven himself on a sound surface and if his stamina lasts out on his first attempt at three miles, he should make his presence felt.
It could prove to a profitable afternoon for Henderson at his local track, with French recruit Under Control of clear interest in the BetVictor Proud Sponsors of Newbury Juvenile Hurdle.
The daughter of Doctor Dino won over hurdles at Fontainebleau three months ago and has since been snapped up by JP McManus and moved to Seven Barrows. Her new connections appear to have found her an excellent opportunity to make a successful British debut, with an entry in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in a fortnight's time suggesting she has been showing up well on the Lambourn gallops.
Twoshotsoftequila has been banging on the door this season and can see it open in the Virgin Bet Daily Extra Places Novices' Handicap Chase at Doncaster. The Sedgefield maiden hurdle winner made a fairly inauspicious start over fences at Hexham in the autumn, but has been beaten less than two lengths back at Sedgefield the last twice.
He looked likely to prevail on his most recent outing after travelling smoothly to the front, but was unable to see off the challenge of the rallying If Not For Dylan. Twoshotsoftequila now tests the water over three miles and that can see him get back on the winning trail for Rebecca Menzies.
A switch to handicap company might enable Pretending to open her account at the third attempt in the Virgin Bet Best Odds Daily Mares' Handicap Hurdle. Lucy Wadham's mare finished third behind Arclight and Greyval in a maiden hurdle at this track in late December. The first two have since renewed rivalry and finished first and second, albeit the other way round, in a Listed contest on Town Moor.
On the strength of that form it was no surprise to see Pretending go off an odds-on favourite on her second jumping start at Catterick but she again had to make do with minor honours, this time filling the runner-up berth behind Zestful. The third from that race, Never No Trouble, has won since though, so it was not a bad effort and an opening perch of 101 looks workable for Pretending ahead of her first foray in handicap company.
There was plenty to like about Karakoy's performance when third on his Kempton introduction and he may not need to improve much to be right in the thick of it once more in the Huge Daily Boosts Only At BetUK Restricted Maiden Stakes at Lingfield. As a son of Golden Horn, the step up from a mile to 10 furlongs should suit.
All-Weather fare also comes from Newcastle, where Win Win Power looks set to secure a fourth win from his last five starts in the Spreadex Sports Get £40 In Bonuses Handicap.
DONCASTER: 1.25 Circus Act, 2.00 Twoshotsoftequila, 2.35 Pretending, 3.10 Up Helly Aa King, 3.45 I Am Gonna Be, 4.20 Hawthorn Cottage, 4.50 Ailes D'Amour.
DUNDALK: 4.55 Tai Sing Yeh, 5.30 Twilight Steel, 6.00 Dancing Tango, 6.30 Halcyon Spirit, 7.00 Segomo, 7.30 Cairo, 8.00 Solar Breeze, 8.30 Distillate.
LINGFIELD: 1.15 Sundazed, 1.50 Topo Chico, 2.25 Fly The Nest, 3.00 Dora Penny, 3.35 Karakoy, 4.10 Fact Or Fable, 4.40 Carzola.
NEWBURY: 1.40 Hardy Boy, 2.15 Piper Tom, 2.50 Under Control, 3.25 Herbiers, 4.00 HYLAND (NAP), 4.30 Gallic Geordie, 5.05 Spring Note.
NEWCASTLE: 5.15 Yakhabar, 5.45 Win Win Power, 6.15 Satin Snake, 6.45 Hello Queen, 7.15 Streak Lightning, 7.45 Northern Spirit, 8.15 Elzaal.
DOUBLE: Under Control and Hyland.