Catching Pigeons: Alene again
Catching Pigeons has the essential news from training centres around the country and a value selection for the Hennessy.
Triolo D'Alene pictured working under Jerry McGrath at Newbury
Triolo D'Alene looks a value bet to land a second victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday.
Nicky Henderson would be the first to admit that the 2013 winner of this great race is not quite of the same class as past double scorers Mandarin, Arkle and Denman and he might also concede that the well handicapped and strongly fancied Vyta Du Roc is his number one hope to give him a fourth success in this historic event.
However, Triolo is a highly talented performer when at his best and connections believe they have him in prime nick for this comeback effort. His work has been a very good at home, similar to that before he ran away with a conditions event at Kempton last season, and the ground is drying up in his favour.
He is just 3lbs higher than his winning rating three years ago, and at 33/1 with several layers, looks a cracking each-way investment.
Daryl Jacob might have struggled to make the weight on Vyta Du Roc but in any case he heads north for a good book of rides including Bristol de Mai who can step up on a slightly disappointing comeback effort at Carlisle and win the At The Races Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle.
Nigel Twiston-Davies' five-year-old has been a very consistent performer since his impressive British debut win in a Grade One juvenile event at Chepstow and developed into a high class novice chaser last season with four wins and a good second at the Cheltenham Festival.
A very short price to prevail on his comeback at Carlisle, het was readily outpointed by Seeyouatmidnight but the form should not be taken too literally. The ground was too fast and connections now believe he is ready for the step up to three miles.
It could be a good day for Bristol De Mai and Vyta Du Roc's owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede with their Omessa Has also fancied to strike for Henderson in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle back at Newbury.
The Seven Barrows team were very confident this French import would deliver on her British debut at Cheltenham in April, but they were left very long-faced when she pulled up after losing her action. Given a long break to recover from what was believed to be a pelvic injury, she is back in great nick and has been working particularly well on the Lambourn Downs. She looks nicely weighted and is well fancied to continue her trainer's good recent record in a race better known as the Gerry Feilden.
Battle Born should go well on his return from a two year lay-off in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle. Charlie Longsdon did well with this seven-year-old in the lead up to his injury and has booked the much sought after Aidan Coleman for this return. Longsdon is more than capable of bringing his charges back fit from a spell on the sidelines and Battle Born has been given a chance by the handicapper.
Henderson has introduced three very promising youngsters for Stuart Parkin and Mike Grech over the past week or so and looks to have found a good opportunity for another ex-Irish pointer Minella Rebellion in the British Stallion Studs EBF National Hunt Novices Hurdle qualifier at Doncaster. The form of his run between the flags oozed promise and he is a much stronger individual now.
Staying on Town Moor where Eskendash looks to have found a good opportunity by Peter Niven to go one better in the 188bet.co.uk Junior Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race having shown plenty of promise when second to Monty's Award on his debut at Worcester in October and
Gavin Sheehan swerves his local course for the long trip from Lambourn to Bangor, but he has some quality rides at the Welsh course by way of compensation and he should be on the mark with with Burlington Bert and Keeper Hill in the two novice hurdles on the card. Both are for his number one supplier Warren Greatrex, and both are highly regarded by the Uplands maestro.
Charmix was not at home around the tight turns of Fontwell on his chasing debut last month, and he is expected to step up on the performance in what looks a very interesting Bernard Corbett & Co Novices Handicap Chase. He developed into a very useful novice hurdler last season and will be well at home on the prevailing soft ground.
The all-weather season is ticking along nicely and the in-form James Fanshawe runs a nice horse at Newcastle (3.50) on Monday in Tegara who has been shaping with a lot of promise on the Al Bahathri. The American bred should appreciate artificial surfaces and also has an option at Lingfield on Tuesday as a fall back.
Fellow Newmarket handler Mraco Botti is absolutely flying at the moment and he's keen to kick and should have plenty of runners on the all-weather this winter.
He could have a double at Wolverhampton on Saturday with Grey Mirage (7.15) who is well handicapped on his old form having struggled when the yard wasn't right earlier in the year and Omran (5.45).
Andi Brown may be best known around Newmarket for owning the public equine swimming pool on Hamilton Road but he has done a good job in bringing Victoriously (formerly with Brian Meehan) back to form and he's landed a good draw in the last at Dunstall Park.
The popular Brown has engaged leading all-weather pilot Adam Kirby and another big run is expected.