Snowden pair on course for Newbury finale on Saturday
Newbury’s 2017/18 Jump racing season concludes this weekend with the two-day Be Wiser Jump Season Finale on Friday, March 23, and Saturday, March 24.
The highlight of Saturday’s seven-race card is the £40,000 G2 EBF & TBA Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle Finale (3.15pm, 21 entries), a G2 limited handicap over an extended two and a half miles.
The entries are topped by Woolstone One (trainer Emma Lavelle), winner of a Listed race at Warwick on her latest start, and Midnight Tune (Anthony Honeyball), who made it three wins from her last four starts in the G2 Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown Park on February 16.
Her Majesty The Queen’s famous colours could be sported by Sunshade. The Nicky Henderson-trained homebred won her first three starts under Rules, including two hurdle races, in good style before finishing third behind Maria’s Benefit in a Listed mares’ hurdle at Taunton in December.
Jamie Snowden has two interesting contenders in Kalahari Queen and Lostnfound. Kalahari Queen comfortably defeated Lady Of Lamanver (Harry Fry) by eight lengths in a handicap hurdle at Exeter on February 23, while Lostnfound beat Woolstone One at Uttoxeter in November and has finished runner-up twice since in similar races under the penalty.
The Lambourn trainer explained: “Kalahari Queen is in great form. She came out of Exeter really well, having been pretty impressive that day.
“The thing about is that she is still so green and backward, but she is essentially a three-mile chaser in the making and given what she has done over two miles and two and a quarter, you would expect her to improve over further.
“Two and a half miles around Newbury on testing ground looks the next obvious stepping stone and we are looking forward to running her again.
“Lostnfound is owned by a breeder who is trying to get a little bit of black type, so if we can run, we will.
“She ran a good race the last day up at Sedgefield. She won what turned out to be quite a good race at Uttoxeter and has been second with the penalty twice.
“She is certainly good enough to win races and hopefully she can go there and pick up a bit a bit of black type.
City Dreamer (Alan King) is one of 16 entries for the £40,000 Be Wiser Juvenile Handicap Hurdle over just shy of two miles and three furlongs. City Dreamer was on the scoresheet at Plumpton and Market Rasen in September and was last seen out over hurdles when second to We Have A Dream in a G2 contest at Doncaster in December.
Paul Nicholls took the spoils in the 2014 renewal with Aldopicgros and has three entries to choose from, all owned by Johnny De La Hay, including Wetherby Listed scorer Malaya.
Northern challenger King Of The May (Brian Ellison), who disappointed when fancied for the G3 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last week, could make a quick return to the track.
The most valuable race of the afternoon is the £50,000 Goffs UK Spring Sales Bumper (5.00pm) over two miles. Past winners of this race include subsequent Ladbrokes Trophy hero Diamond Harry, who won back-to-back renewals in 2007 and 2008.
Trainer Harry Fry and owners Phil Fry and Charlie Walker combined successfully 12 months ago with Bullionaire. They could be represented this time around by Wincanton scorer Caribert.
Alan King has won the race three times since 2009. His three entries include Brigade Of Guards and Mr Pumblechook, who have both had one start so far this season.
Newbury’s six-race card on Friday includes the £15,000 Be Wiser Insurance Handicap Hurdle (4.10pm, 20 entries) over an extended two miles. The weights are headed on 11st 12lb by talented novice Theclockisticking (Stuart Edmunds).