Gerry Feilden Preview: Kay Can Show The Way At Newbury

The Gerry Feilden can often be an informative handicap and there have been more highs than lows in this long-running race in recent years.

Gerry Feilden Preview: Kay Can Show The Way At Newbury

The Gerry Feilden can often be an informative handicap and there have been more highs than lows in this long-running race in recent years.

L’Ami Serge ran out an impressive six-length winner on his British debut in 2014 to give Nicky Henderson his fifth win in this race this century, and the Lambourn-based trainer has a similar type in Charli Parcs in this year’s renewal.

Just like L’Ami Serge, Charli Parcs made a deep impression on his British debut when winning a juvenile hurdle by eight lengths in December last year. He didn’t progress as expected from that performance, though, in the process of running well when falling on his next start and having no obvious excuses when beaten ten lengths by Defi du Seuil in the Triumph Hurdle on his final start. However, he has always been well regarded by connections, and based on his winning form at Kempton last season, a mark of 145 shouldn’t be beyond him, so you can see why he currently heads the market.

Henderson is also responsible for Verdana Blue Horseform, who finished fifth in a listed handicap at Ascot on her return and showed the benefit of that run when winning at the same course last week with a fair bit in hand. Despite being 8 lb higher in a better race now, Verdana Blue still merits respect.

High Bridge Horseform and Air Force One Horseform finished third and fourth in the aforementioned listed handicap at Ascot which is proving very strong form, with both the first and second winning competitive handicaps since. High Bridge shaped well on what was his handicap debut, well positioned and having every chance on the run-in. Still relatively unexposed as a hurdler, he will remain of interest in all the valuable two-mile handicaps this season. The same can be said for Air Force One after shaping similarly and he should give a good account from a 4 lb higher mark. He also has an entry for the two and a half mile handicap at Newbury on Saturday.

Alan King won this race with the four-year-old Who Dares Wins 12 months ago and has an interesting trio from the same age group entered this year in Cosmeapolitan, Dino Velvet Horseform and Fidux Horseform. The last-named caught the eye at Sandown last time, making good progress and having every chance until unseating his rider at the last. That was his first run in an all-aged handicap and, provided he brushes up his jumping, he should have more to offer. Dino Velvet wasn’t seen to best effect after seven months off at Chepstow in October, in need of a stronger gallop, and also shaping as though he’s ready for further than two miles, but he will likely get a sound pace to aim at here. Cosmeapolitan is by far the least exposed having had just the one run over hurdles, overcoming inexperience when winning a juvenile hurdle over this C&D in December 2016.

He has since enjoyed another productive season on the Flat, is open to significant improvement as a hurdler, and based on his Flat exploits, has been allotted a more than fair opening mark in this sphere.

Mount Mews managed to win three times in his novice season and showed on his reappearance at Ayr that he should be competitive in handicaps from this sort of mark. He did well to finish as close as he did that day all things considered, conceding the best part of two stone to the improving winner. Mount Mews is entitled to come on for that run and remains capable of better still.

A couple to consider at bigger prices are Master of Irony Horseform and Master Dancer Horseform, both of whom recorded career-best wins last time. However, the performance of Master Dancer was particularly taking as he tore apart a competitive handicap at Cheltenham in decisive fashion. He has been raised 12 lb in the weights since, but that was only his fifth start over hurdles, and he appeared to have so much in hand that day.

One who makes the most appeal, though, in what looks set to be a competitive renewal, is Philip Hobbs’ lightly-raced mare Poppy Kay Horseform, who made it three wins from her last four completed starts in this sphere when winning a handicap over this C&D last time. That was her first start for seven months, but she typically travelled strongly and was value for more than the three and three quarter length winning margin suggests. She still looks as though she’s on an upward curve, and a subsequent 6 lb rise could well underestimate her.


Back Poppy Kay in the Gerry Feilden Listed Handicap Hurdle at 10/1.

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