With competitive racing at both Ascot and Haydock this Saturday, we take a look at the Rossington Novices’ Hurdle, a Grade 2 race recognised as a trial for the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
David Pipe’s expensive purchase, Un Temps Pour Tout (11/10 Coral), makes his British debut facing 5 other rivals. The main attraction of this race cost a hefty £450,000 from France and is one of highest priced jumpers sold at public auction. From nine runs in France he has won three races and finished third every other time, with his latest result finishing behind the Paul Nicholls trained Ptit Zig, a horse who holds a Champion Hurdle entry. Un Temps Pour Tout looks a really exciting prospect who won’t be disadvantaged by the heavy ground at Haydock. However, prior to backing him I’d like to see what he has to offer on these shores. He holds an entry in the Supreme at the Festival, and if he goes well today, he’s sure to be a leading contender come March.
Zamdy Man (9/2 BetVictor) runs for the inform combination of Venetia Williams and Aidan Coleman, and is unbeaten so far this season. The testing ground shouldn’t be a problem for him either, and neither should the distance thanks to his breeding. He had some decent form under rules last season, finishing behind the likes of Flaxen Flare, Ptit Zig and Ruacana in the Fred Winter when still looking quite green. His latest victory came in a listed hurdle race at Haydock, making all and winning well.
Connections of Meadowcroft Boy (9/2 BetVictor) will be hopeful that he can extend his unbeaten run in this race. He made an encouraging start when winning easily over hurdles last month, but this is the first time he’ll face serious competition. He was a leading bumper contender but is relatively inexperienced against rivals as tough as these. Despite the fact that this poses a stern test of his ability I wouldn’t be overly surprised if he came out on top.
STAND TO REASON (11/2 Stan James) arrives here as another horse unbeaten over hurdles with connections hopeful of another good effort. His form from on the flat will certainly help him over this shorter distance, and after winning on heavy ground last time out at Newbury I can’t find much to oppose him with. Undoubtedly this looks to be a very competitive event yet I still think this horse has a great chance and could offer some value at the prices.
River Clare (100/1 bet365) is yet to race over hurdles, having converted from point-to-pointing in December, when he ran in a National Hunt flat race finishing fourth. For a six year old he is relatively unexposed, having only raced three times in his career. Without a run over hurdles it is difficult to gauge his ability and in this company he is hard to fancy especially after weakening quickly under pressure on his British racecourse debut.
The Nick Williams trained Abracadabra Sivola (25/1 Coral) is an interesting runner who’s only just turned four. He finished fifth in the Grade 2 JCB Trial at Cheltenham in November where he looked to be staying strong up the hill, after losing ground before hand. He still quite inexperienced and would probably be suited best by a trip longer than the 2m on offer here.
This race looks wide open with a number of the runners both young and relatively unexposed. Although the new and expensive French import Un Temps Pour Tout looks likely to claim the pre-race attention, my attention will be on the Nicky Henderson trained STAND TO REASON. He has done nothing wrong so far and providing he turns up in good form then he will give a bold show.
STAND TO REASON (WIN) (11/2 Stan James)
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