THYME HILL 9/2 generally – 1 POINT WIN
SUMMERVILLE BOY 8/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair – 1 POINT WIN
On good ground I am happy to take on Paisley Park especially given there is no real frontrunner in the race to make it a real test for him. I think he could be vunerable the slower they go and he comes here after a irregular heartbeat at Cheltenham which is less than ideal.
Mc Fabulous looks a classy horse and won well at Chepstow but he beat nothing really and this is a big step up in class. Until I see otherwise that he is as good as the best around, I am happy to take him on.
Two horses who have excellent chances are THYME HILL and SUMMERVILLE BOY and at the prices I am happy to go in double handed.
THYME HILL is a horse I think is top class and we are going to see the best of him this season. If I had to pick one for the Stayers Hurdle in March at this stage, it would be THYME HILL. He just has all you need in a staying hurdler and actually reminds me a bit like Big Bucks. That is a bold statement to make but they both hit flat spots and both jumped a bit clumsy but always got home and were best in a finish. THYME HILL ran four times over hurdles last season, winning 3 before Christmas and then going straight to the Cheltenham Festival. He came home 4th to Monkfish in the Albert Bartlett and I thought he was a bit unlucky having to switch a few times, inside the last 2 hurdles. It was not ideal going to the festival with nearly 3 months off the track either so he did have excuses. Even so he ran a great race behind 3 horses who I think will be top class this season. Now a 2nd season hurdler and a summer on his back, he really could be unstoppable this season. I know connections think he is a superstar and if fit enough, he has to go close. WIN.
SUMMERVILLE BOY has a big advantage over Paisley Park and Thyme Hill as he has had a run this season, when winning at Aintree at the start of the month. He will come here a very fit horse and if he gets a chance to use his speed, in what I believe will be a slow run race, it could be run to suit. He was beaten by Paisley Park last season in the Cleeve Hurdle and then came home 5th in the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham. Both races were run with an emphasis on stamina with the ground being soft. Today the ground is good and Newbury is a flat track, suited to horses like Summerville Boy who have that burst of speed and can gain a couple of lengths. It is nowhere near as testing as Cheltenham. I think you will see this horse progress nicely over 3 miles this season and whether he finds one too good at this level, we will soon find out but at the price he is a stonking bet in my opinion. WIN.