After Ayr managed to stage jumping today, hopes are rising that the big card scheduled for Cheltenham on Saturday may not have to be postponed, after all. In the meantime, some instructive sport is promised at Gowran tomorrow.
The Thyestes Chase has a history of producing Grand National horses, Hedgehunter and Numbersixvalverde having landed consecutive runnings before going on to win at Aintree. And then there is a crucial crossroads for Bog Warrior, one of the more interesting Ladbrokes World Hurdle candidates to emerge since Big Buck's was injured.
Only returned to timber after losing his way over fences, Bog Warrior suddenly looks as though it could be the making of him. He beat none other than Flemenstar on their mutual chasing debut last season, and then won a Grade One by 31 lengths. But he fell in two of his next four starts and his trainer, Tony Martin, resolved to boost his confidence in a handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse last month. Bog Warrior then saw off the smart Solwhit at Punchestown, and now tests his stamina over another half-mile in the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.
Another returning to hurdles this season is Peddlers Cross, though he will not leave the ground at all when making his first start since March in a "jumpers' bumper" at Kempton tomorrow. He had options at Doncaster and Cheltenham the next day, but the former looks doomed by snow and the latter would entail running over three miles in conditions likely to prove very dead.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Captain Kendall (2.45 Lingfield) Impressed in only his second handicap start and looks ahead of his new rating.
Lastkingofscotland (7.05 Kempton) Thrived in responding to positive tactics round here last time.