Fishkov was a bit disappointing on his bumper debut at the tail end of October when a 6/4 favourite at Uttoxeter. He was a bit keen that day and did too much too soon but to his credit, he still wasn’t beaten far in fourth.
He went to the front before the home turn and in hindsight, if Jonjo O’Neill Jnr had been less aggressive with him, he may well have made a winning debut. Fishkov cost £115,000 after finishing a close second in his point to point at Dromahane in December 2019. That now looks like a really strong contest, with the winner Vanillier only just touched off in a Grade 2 novice hurdle over Christmas, the fifth Oscar Elite is two from two over hurdles for Colin Tizzard and Reality Cheque was second in a bumper at Fairyhouse, before being fatally injured with a race at his mercy at Leopardstown.
He steps up to just shy of two and a half miles now for his hurdles debut here and while Pennyforapound and Supervisor have fair hurdles form and experience, I will be disappointed if Fishkov can’t make a winning hurdles debut.
Howling Milan’s form figures of F0C70 hardly inspire confidence but two of those runs were over fences and he didn’t really take the chasing and his last run was in a Class 2 handicap at Newbury. The F was a fall in a class 2 handicap at Newbury in December 2019 off a mark of 125 but he was three lengths clear at the last and looked to have the race in the bag when he came down.
He drops into a Class 4 handicap here now and runs off a mark of 120, so were he able to bounce back to anywhere near that level of form here, he would surely go close, as this is the first time that he has dropped into a Class 4 handicap.
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Father Of Jazz showed plenty when second on his debut at Sandown in June, in a race that has worked out well. The winner is now rated 97 and the third is rated 88, so it was a fair effort to split those nice horses. Father Of Jazz spent six months off the track and switched from Michael Bell to Roger Varian before getting off the mark at the second attempt at Wolverhampton last month. He was 4/11 that day in the betting and was expected to win but he did it very easily beating a filly rated 78.
It’s fair to assume that Father Of Jazz has the ability to rate in the 90’s this season. He does carry a penalty, but a run to a level in the low 80’s might actually be good enough to win this, so he should prove difficult to beat.
The North Yorkshire Chase looks a good renewal this year with the likes of Late Romantic coming here off a win at Haydock and Duc De Grissay looking to gain compensation for a final fence fall when looking likely to win the Borders National last time.
Both have decent chances but Le Breuil is definitely the class angle in the race. The winner of the National Hunt Chase at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, he probably hasn’t hit the heights since then. You very much get the sense that all last season was geared around the Aintree Grand National.
I thought he shaped nicely when third in the Becher Chase last time off a mark of 141 and runs off 1lb lower now. The issue now is that to get a guaranteed run in this year’s Grand National, he will probably need to go up 5lbs in the handicap, before the weights come out. A win here would be key for him. He has had a wind operation since that Becher Chase and that might see him gain his first win since that 2019 Cheltenham Festival win.
Hereia won a maiden hurdle in Roscommon on soft ground when trained by Andy Slattery and initially was highly tried when switched to Neil Mulholland, finding nice races at Cheltenham and Sandown a bit too hot for him. He didn’t show too much in a few handicap hurdle runs but showed a little more when midfield at Plumpton over two and a half miles, just finding the trip stretching him.
While that run was mildly eye-catching, it didn’t suggest he was a sure-fire winner next time out. He was very heavily backed last week at Plumpton, but unseated the rider half-way through. The booking of the excellent Kevin Brogan catches the eye and while this is a stronger handicap, he might be able to recoup those losses now.
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