Noel Fehily brings down the curtain on a fine career today and the man from Dunmanway can bow out in style by steering Get In the Queue to victory in the Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper at Newbury.
The Harry Fry-trained five-year-old was towards the head of the market for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival last week but connections opted to bypass that in favour of this less demanding assignment, a decision that can ensure a fitting finale to Fehily’s career.
Get In the Queue made a winning start to his career when scoring by nine lengths at Uttoxeter in December and was even more impressive when justifying 6-4 favourtism at Exeter last month. The winning margin on that occasion was 16 lengths and the form was franked on Tuesday when Exeter runner-up Sheshoon Sonny won in good style at Wetherby. On that basis, it’ll be a big disappointment if Get In the Queue doesn’t make it three from three today.
On the subject of disappointment, Paul Nicholls was left frustrated last week when his Friend Or Foe just missed the cut for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – the Fred Winter in old money – but a measure of compensation may come his way in the Be Wiser Insurance Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. Nicholls was particularly sweet on Friend Or Foe’s prospects in the build-up to Cheltenham and he was quite impressive on his sole start for the Ditcheat trainer, making all to land the spoils at Taunton in December. He showed a willing attitude that day and a bold bid can be anticipated.
The EBF & Tba Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle Series Final looks pretty tricky but The White Mouse may be able to roar for Lucy Wadham. The five-year-old is two from three this season, most recently when obliging at Doncaster at the start of this month. Should she perform to a similar level today, she ought to be firmly in the mix. Joe Farrell appeals as the answer in the Insure With Be Wiser Handicap Chase. The Rebecca Curtis-trained 10-year-old scored over course and distance on this day last year before finishing the season in style by winning the Scottish National.
He didn’t reappear this season until the start of this month and shaped as needing the run when fading to finish a distant sixth to Carole’s Destrier in a veterans’ chase. He should strip significantly fitter here and a more sustained challenge can be anticipated. The ITV4 cameras are also at Kelso where the feature is the Liz Adam Memorial Handicap Chase. The one who appeals most here is Le Reve. At 11, he’s the oldest horse in the field but he’s in the form of his life at the minute having followed up last month’s victory at Lingfield by winning at Sandown 15 days ago. He gets weight from main market rivals Blue Flight and Some Chaos so may be able to complete the hat-trick.
With a trainers’ Championship in his sights and plenty cash up for grabs at Kelso, it’s no surprise Paul Nicholls has opted to send Worthy Farm north to contest the Paxtons Exclusively Kverneland Handicap Hurdle. The six-year-old has leading claims after bouncing back from a lacklustre effort at Cheltenham in December to win at Ascot last month. A repeat of that effort should see him go close.
Nicholls also has leading prospects in theEBF/TBA Mares’ Novices’ Chase if – and it’s a big if – Kupatana’s holds up. The talented six-year-old has parted company with her jockey in three of her last four starts, a record that says she’s not to be trusted, particularly at a short price.
That being the case, preference is for Kalahari Queen, who comes here on the back of victory at Wetherby last time out. She probably lacks the latent talent of Kupatana but she unquestionably more reliable.
The Bernhard Lighting Rig Handicap Hurdle looks a real head-scratcher but Joke Dancer, who made light of a 329-day absence to win at Newcastle last month, should go well for Sue Smith.
Kelso 1.50: Kalahari Queen
Newbury 2.05: Joe Farrell
Kelso 2.25: Joke Dancer
Newbury 2.40: Friend Or Foe (NB)
Kelso 3.00: Le Reve
Newbury 3.15: The White Mouse
Kelso 3.35: Worthy Farm
Newbury 5.00: Get In the Queue (nap)