Catching Pigeons: Load up on Cannon?
Our Catching Pigeons column has the inside track from the training centres and fancies it to be a big day on Saturday for a young rider.
Tom Cannon in winning action recently for Alan King – can he enjoy further success at Doncaster on Saturday?
Away from the main action over jumps at Cheltenham, Saturday could prove a very important day for the burgeoning career of Tom Cannon.
Cannon steps in for the sidelined Wayne Hutchinson aboard four high-profile mounts for Alan King at Doncaster and the rider looks to have an excellent chance of landing a well-timed success aboard at least a couple of them, especially as four winners in the last eight days have shown the stable to be ticking over nicely ahead of the busy Christmas period.
Sego Success can follow up his 2016 success in the Bet365.com Handicap Chase. Both of his two most inspiring performances of last season came on this course and underlined his liking for being up with or right on the pace.
Connections are likely to be bold once again with the tactics and he can step up on what was a promising comeback effort at Bangor last month. He is just a couple of pounds higher in the ratings than 12 months ago and looks weighted to run another big race.
Stablemate Passmore has been a little disappointing so far, but looks worth another chance in the two-mile Bet365 Handicap Hurdle 35 minutes earlier. She was too keen to get on with things that day, and connections are hoping the fitting of a hood for the first time will prove the key to settling her down, and allow her to produce the same sort of level of performance she has been offering at home.
Aloomomo is the selection to bring Warren Greatrex's season to life with victory in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
The Upper Lambourn trainer has enjoyed a fair measure of success so far this autumn, but some of his premier league performers have yet to fire. However Aloomomo was one of the exceptions on his reappearance when a very creditable third to the well regarded Elegant Escape and Laser Light in a novice hurdle at Ascot three weeks ago.
At six, Aloomomo can be expected to improve and add to his three wins over fences so far, and looks nicely weighted against some more-exposed performers here. Greatrex will be hoping the forecast rain – due, according to most forecasts, to arrive in volume at around lunchtime – will bring further ease to the ground, and if conditions are right, he should prove too good for course specialist Village Vic and Bouvreuil, whose chances by contrast would increase if the weather stays dry.
Different Gravey can maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the Ryman Novices' Chase. Nicky Henderson had a problem or two with the six year old last season, but that did not stop the gelding producing a most impressive performance in a handicap hurdle here last season on one of the two appearances he managed. He returned to the Berkshire course for his debut effort over fences, and ran out a ready winner despite being just in need of the race.
He has improved considerably since that performance, and delighted Noel Fehily when he schooled him at Seven Barrows in midweek.
O O Seven – the Lambourn pigeon tells us – featured in the same schooling session as Different Gravey and looks ready for a step up in class in the Grade 2 December Novices' Chase back at Doncaster.
He produced a polished jumping display under Andrew Tinkle in the workout and should appreciate the move up to three miles after justifying plenty of stable confidence in a high-class novice chase at Cheltenham last month. Connections were confident he was an improved horse before that success and nothing he has done since at home suggests that assessment is wide of the mark.
Back at Cheltenham, Baltimore Rock can notch his first success for Neil Mulholland in the Raymond Mould Handicap Chase. Not far off the best two-mile novices when trained by David Pipe for most of last season, he looks the sort to improve this term and can make the most of the 10lb he receives from Vaniteux.
Ben Pauling received a significant boost when John Ferguson sent him a handful of his team when he retired from training at the end of last season, and they can combine to take the Jack Deeley Memorial Handicap Hurdle at Lingfield with the lightly-raced Jaleo.
Placed twice on his two outings on the Flat for Jim Bolger, he went off favourite for the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival after winning two of his first three outings over hurdles. A mistake at halfway cost him any chance in that ultra-competitive event, but he remains a youngster with potential, and has been pleasing his new trainer in his pre-season build up.
Talk of Godolphin and Jim Bolger leads us neatly on to the closing BEW Electrical With Gaia Underfloor Heating Junior Bumper at the same track where Roger Charlton saddles a rare runner under National Hunt rules in the shape of Tambour, a son of Notnowcato from a good family of the Rothschilds.
Connections of Her Terms must be struggling to believe that their filly is still looking for a first win this season. After a host of respectable efforts, they reach for cheekpieces in the opener at Wolverhampton. Surely she can get the job done this time.
At a far meatier price, the booking of Adam Kirby takes the eye aboard Solar Deity in the Betway Handicap later on the card.
This horse has been around the world and back – literally after a rather flat trip to South Korea – for Jane Chapple-Hyam but continues to shape as if there is still some ability left in the tank. And an illustration of what a decent horse he has been in the past is that Kirby's last ride on Solar Deity came when they finished fourth in the 2014 Winter Classic behind Grandeur.
Another Newmarket trainer with an interesting contender at Dunstall Park is Cambodia, who returns to the fray for Chris Wall for the first time since May, but is likely to have been well-prepared for his comeback in the sunbets.co.uk Handicap.
Amy Murphy has made a positive start to her first few months as a trainer from the 20-box Hamilton Stables in the town, with three winners from only a few runners in the last couple of weeks.
She sends one of that trio, Shan Dun Na Ngall, all the way to Newcastle on Saturday in the search of a follow-up success and despite the big field, a second victory may well not prove beyond him.
Murphy also saddles Kalane over jumps at Doncaster during the afternoon and a couple of spins so far this season should have put her spot-on.
Looking further ahead, Henry Ponsonby has enjoyed a very profitable 2016 on the Flat and his very useful jumping team has been strengthened with the news that former smart novice hurdler Caracci Apache is ready to resume his chasing career.
He jumped really well on his only start so far over fences at Aintree, but sustained a very nasty leg injury in the process and had to spend a lengthy time on the easy list to recover from the wound. He was give a run or two on the Flat to get back into the swing of things, and is now back working and schooling well at Seven Barrows.
Connections plan to run him in the novices handicap at Newbury on Wednesday, and a good run is anticipated.