Nicky Henderson has a clutch of live contenders for the Cheltenham Festival and Bloody Mary can add her name to that list by making a winning British debut in the Openbet Novices’ Hurdle at Taunton today.
The five-year-old is a reasonably high-profile recruit for owner JP McManus as she arrives from France with five bumper victories to her name as well as one triumph over hurdles at Auteuil last September.
Having handled testing French ground, she should be most adept at dealing with what are likely to be trying conditions in the south west and Henderson has made no secret of the fact this mare is held in high regard.
Glendermo has a good chance in the Openbet Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Trained in Northamptonshire by Paul Cowley, the seven-year-old settled nicely into his job at Huntingdon last time and was only bested by Dandy Duke.
This does not look too great a race and he looks reasonably handicapped.
After Hours can add to his Haydock gains by winning the Bathwick Tyres Handicap Hurdle.
Henry Oliver’s seven-year-old has been thumped by the assessor for a short-head defeat of Baratineur, but this does not look as hot an encounter and he is clearly still progressing.
Berkshire Beauty appears to thrive at Southwell and can make it a quickfire course-and-distance double in the Download The Ladbrokes App Handicap.
Andrew Balding has opted to reappear again quickly after the daughter of Aqlaam struck gold at this track last week, securing her first career success in the process.
Berkshire Beauty is evidently no star and after eight attempts at various venues, the decision to try her on the Southwell surface seems to have brought out the best in her.
After just being outstayed on her first outing before Christmas, she put her best foot forward to claim a three-length triumph last week.
Having started life on a mark of 63, the fact that she races off just 59 here is a definite positive and could still have some scope for improvement yet at this course.
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