Smiling Alfie

After the thrills and spills of the Cheltenham Festival, and the launch of the flat turf season this weekend at Doncaster, you could be forgiven for thinking there’s not much going on when it comes to jump racing, but you’d be wrong, because there is plenty to look forward to on Saturday from Bangor and Newbury where we have representatives at both tracks.

Smiling Getaway

Smiling Getaway, who carries the silks of James and Jean Potter Ltd, and Alfie’s Princess, Potter Group, have both been declared for the valuable G2 Mares’ NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle which is live on ITV Racing at 3:15, and it’s fair to say both mares have outstanding claims.

Smiling Getaway, under Sam Twiston-Davies, is the shortest price of the duo having run very well in G2 Company at Sandown last time, off the back of two impressive victories over Hurdles. In what was quite a muddling race, where very few got competitive, the daughter of Getaway was positioned behind the leaders (who finished first and second) but was caught slightly flat-footed turning for home, before staying in dourly up the hill to finish third and gain valuable Black Type in the process. That was a solid effort, and with a strong gallop to aim at this time, she could certainly go a few places better. The Twiston-Davies camp are in fine form and we are expecting a bold show.

Alfie’s Princess also put up a great performance at Sandown last time, when third to runaway winner Jingko Blue. The second that day, Titan Discovery, a son of Yorton sire Pether’s Moon who was in receipt of 9lbs from our runner, subsequently came out and won at Sandown before being narrowly touched off at Kempton thereafter. That is strong form, and a reproduction of that effort would see her go very close. She’s 3lbs better off at the weights with the favourite, El Elafante, on their Haydock run and Sam Thomas has been among the winners this week, so a definite case be made for the daughter of Shirocco.

Both mares will make lovely chasers next season and should be even better once stepped up in trip.

Across at Bangor, Guard The Moon, a homebred son of Pether’s Moon out of Polly Potter, bids to get off the mark over timber in the Maiden Hurdle at 3:40. Already the winner of two bumpers at the course, Potterman’s half brotherhas posted two very eyecatching efforts in defeat over jumps and you’d like to think he’d be extremely competitive.

G moon
Guard The Moon runs at Bangor

Uncle Bert, another handsome homebred of James and Jean Potter’s, bids to defy a 4lbs rise in the Handicap following an easy success at Wetherby under today’s pilot, James Turner. It’s not been the most straightforward season for the son of Pether’s Moon after scoring in style at Perth in September, but things finally seem to have clicked and he is another who is built for chasing and there is no doubt, that is where his future lies.

Further down the line Call The Dance holds an entry at Ascot on Sunday and could step up in trip in the Novices’ Handicap at 3:55 and Moonlit Potter will be declared for the Mare’s NH Novices’ Hurdle at Huntingdon on Monday. Strong Belle is engaged at Kelso next week.

Reflecting on our runners over the past seven days, we were delighted with Egbert who was so unlucky not to win at Kempton last Saturday. After making all of the running under an inspired Tom Cannon ride, Alan King’s charge was gradually reeled in by the eventual winner, Slipway. Despite finishing second, he lost nothing in defeat and seemed to really enjoy himself jumping away merrily up front in blinkers. He’s perfectly genuine but, like many of us on a Monday morning, needs a little motivation to get the job done! Being a Scotsman, Alan King loves his trips up to Ayr so a crack at the Scottish Grand National could be on the cards.

Spring Gale at Chepstow

Spring Gale bumped into a smart mare at Chepstow on Sunday but nevertheless put up a great effort to finish second on just her third start over hurdles. She’s a lovely, big strong mare who should have no problem winning her next start, assuming Henry Daly finds the right race 😉. She is another with a bright future once sent chasing.