Catching Pigeons: Big win for Fergie?
Our Catching Pigeons column fancies the Ferguson family to taste success in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday.
Will John Ferguson be cheering home a family winner at Kempton on Saturday?
Jaleo can give jockey Alex Ferguson the biggest success of his fledgling career by beating a smart field including former stablemate Chesterfield in the 32Red Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday.
Both horses were trained by 'Fergie's' father John before he retired at the end of last season to take up more lucrative and time-consuming duties for Godolphin.
While most of those jumpers went to the sales, Jaleo was one of just a handful retained by the former Newmarket handler to run in his familiar black Bloomfields colours.
Ferguson snr is an extremely proud supporter of his family. He forsook the Dubai Carnival to go to Catterick on Thursday to watch Alex ride a winner and Alex's brother James, himself a former rider, is doing well among the Godolphin ranks as assistant trainer to Charlie Appleby.
A smart juvenile last season, he did well to win at Lingfield on his comeback after losing his place running down the hill and was good value for what was a comfortable enough win in the end. Pauling has been delighted with his progress since and connections believe he will be much better suited by this course and will appreciate the step up in trip.
Chesterfield also developed into a smart handicapper for Ferguson two seasons ago, and would have won here on his final start before a long injury absence just over two years ago. He has since been sold and is now with Seamus Mullins, and produced a promising comeback effort in a valuable handicap at Ascot last month. He will be sharper here and is worth a small saver.
Chill Factor will be the topical tip at Kempton even without paying any regard to the current Arctic blast and looks another Saturday winner for Colin Tizzard in the 32Red Handicap Chase. The seven year old was given an 8lb hike for his win at Newbury on his latest start, but he has more scope for improvement than most in this field, and still gets a handy 13lb from Volnay de Thaix, who was disappointing at Huntingdon, but who retains the faith of many at Seven Barrows despite his hit-and-miss profile.
Allee Bleue showed plenty of ability over timber last season and ran much better than his final position suggests on his comeback in a competitive event at Cheltenham last month. A little keen for his own good early on, his jumping fell apart when he began to tire. He should be better suited by this flatter course, and he looks handily weighted with his talented amateur taking off a valuable 7lb.
Sego Success, a winner at this meeting two years ago and favourite for this race 12 months ago only to come down at the second fence, can show a return to form for the fitting of blinkers for the first time in the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick.
Alan King loves to win this arduous marathon and hoped Sego Success could follow stablemates D'Argent and West End Rocker, who have both prevailed for the Barbury Castle team in recent years. Sego Success is a very useful performer on his day and now only 1lb higher than his rating at Doncaster 13 months ago when he ran out an emphatic winner of a good handicap. His performance in this season's renewal of the same Doncaster race suggested he was running back into form and the blinds are expected to be a big help to his sometimes slipshod jumping.
Tom Lacey showed with his handling of the smart Singlefarmpayment last season that he knows what he is about and he is doing the same again with Lough Derg Leader. This very likeable horse is on a hat-trick after wins at Bangor-on-Dee and Doncaster and gives every indication that his rising through the rankings should continue with his most important race so far in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Qualifier. Kilgeel Hill is another on his way back from injury who could sneak a place on his first appearance for in-form Harry Whittington.
Overtown Express will love the testing ground and he can build on two solid performances so far this season on a faster surface at Plumpton and Ascot in the Betfred January Sales Edward Courage Cup Handicap Chase.
American can complete a double for Fry in the Betfred Mobile Hampton Novices' Chase. This Listed event has attracted a very talented entry, but the three miles will require plenty of stamina and American appears to have that particular quality in strong supply. He should build on his emphatic success at Exeter on his comeback, and his stable could not be in better form.
Don Cantillon is always a man to take note of in bumpers and his booking of Flat ace Graham Lee for his newcomer Perfect Moment in the Racing UK Fillies' National Hunt Flat race at Wetherby could well pay dividends. Cantillon has been spotted dashing around Newmarket busily supervising gallops work for a nice-looking young horse in the last couple of weeks – there's every chance that nice-looking young horse might just have been this well-bred filly and the trainer has enjoyed some of his best moments with his modest jumping team at this very track.
There are not too many sons of the mighty Frankel in action during the darkest depths of winter, but Roger Charlton's Fashion Business steps out for the first time in the first division of the 32Red Maiden at Lingfield and he should give a good account of himself under George Baker.
It remains to be seen whether he can get anywhere near emulating his Group One-winning dam Icon Project, let alone his unbeatable sire, but he has shown enough at home to suggest a bold show will be on the cards in this relatively low-grade company.
The presence of Fashion Business in the line-up is bad news for Jeremy Noseda, who could do with a winner, and might just wish his Ettu had ended up in the second division.
Charlton, though, could end up having a good afternoon at Lingfield with his other runners on the card, Chester Street and Abaad, also worth a second look.
One Newmarket trainer in absolutely flying form at present is David Simcock and his Jordan Sport makes plenty of appeal in the Betway Handicap at 1.25. He was always rated quite highly by previous trainer Richard Fahey, but blighted his prospects by repeatedly taking a furious hold in the early stages of his races.
He settled better dropped back to five furlongs last time, the quicker pace seemingly suiting him, and although this move back up to six will not be the same thing, racing around a turn might help him conserve his energy for a late burst and a number of these rivals have been ridden handily in the past, suggesting that a good gallop is likely.
Lucy Wadham will very much be hoping Fakenham gets the go-ahead for Sunday as she has a hatful of runners with good-looking chances – the Wadhams are among the track's greatest supporters and would love nothing more than to come home from the track with a couple of trophies.