Steve Hughes previews the British meetings on Sunday, made up entirely of jumping fixtures.
There is a rare day off for the flat racers today which means that all three meetings are summer jumping fixtures. Each card features at least one decent quality handicap and I have a selection each from Southwell and Stratford. We got back on form yesterday with Continuum winning (advised 14/1) and double point selection Slade Power landing the big race (advised 11/4).
Stratford 3.20: Spanish Treasure
Whilst I have to say this is a somewhat speculative selection given the horse has no decent form whatsoever in recent months, perhaps a change of scenery will rekindle the interest of Spanish Treasure who has reached a level of ability in the past, far in excess of any of his opponents.
A winner of a bumper at the Punchestown Festival on his debut, he also won first time out over hurdles when trained by Andy Turnell. He went on to place a more than respectable eighth in one of the finest Supreme Novice Hurdles ever staged in 2011, won by Al Ferof ahead of Spirit Son, Sprinter Sacre and Cue Card. His final start of that season saw him win with plenty to spare at Wincanton.
Unfortunately that is where the good news ends as he missed the whole of the following season through injury and then produced only one good run on his return when second in a jumpers’ bumper at Kempton. If anything his form was even worse in four runs this term, culminating in a last place at Ffos Las. However his handicap mark has plunged from 131 to 105 in that time and he has since been acquired by Sophie Leech. The Leech stable have proved more than capable in the past of rejuvenating horses that have appeared to be on the downgrade and he does have his favoured fast ground in case they have worked their magic again.
Southwell 3.45: Masterofdeception
Yet another Richard Newland success story, Masterofdeception is 2-2 for his new yard having failed to win in twelve attempts for Jessie Harrington. No doubt quicker ground in England is a large factor in that improvement and he will get his ground again at Southwell this afternoon.
In fairness to him he did run a number of fair races in Ireland, placing fourth in a Galway Festival bumper and he was fourth in a big field at Down Royal’s Christmas meeting. However his first attempt on ground faster than good, at Tipperary in April showed plenty of promise when third over 2m4f.
On joining Newland he was immediately stepped up to 3m at Ffos Las and saw off a multiple winner in Clues and Arrows with a bit to spare. Another 3m contest on a flat left-handed track at Aintree followed and although his jumping was sketchy in the early stages he warmed to his task and ground down Frontier Vic in game fashion late on. This is another 3m contest on fast ground and a flat left-handed track and despite an 8lb rise he could still take some stopping.
1pt each-way – Spanish Treasure – 3.20 Stratford (12/1 general)
1pt win – Masterofdeception – 3.45 Southwell (9/2 general)