The lightly-raced and progressive Floressa looks worth siding with to get the better of defending champ Lady Buttons in the 2m Grade 2 Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster on Saturday (14:40).
This Nicky Henderson trained five-year-old was a smart bumper performer who created a good impression on hurdles debut at Worcester back in October when scoring easily by 19 lengths.
She was then an arguably unlucky loser when beaten a short-head by Silver Forever in a decent class 2 contest at Newbury, as she dived at the last and then had to switch on the run-in.
Floressa then gained revenge on the Paul Nicholls trained winner in no uncertain fashion when landing a Listed affair also at Newbury by 1 1/2 lengths from Jeremy’s Flame.
After jumping slickly throughout on the heels of the leaders, Floressa move effortlessly into contention to challenge going strongly under Nico de Boinville once over two out.
Bags of untapped potential for Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle
She was then ridden to take up the running at the last and found plenty on the run-in to comfortably fend off the challenge of the Irish raider.
The front two pulled 3 1/2 lengths clear of the third home Silver Forever, so that gives the form a solid look.
As the runner-up has since run well to chase home Fiddlerontheroof in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown – a card which also saw Silver Forever bolt up by 6 1/2 lengths in a Listed contest – the form has an extremely strong look to it.
There was simply nothing not to like about the way in which the daughter of Poliglote got the job done.
She is clearly progressing with each outing and retains bags of untapped potential.
Floressa is also now rated 142, just 4lb below that of Phil Kirby’s admirable Lady Buttons, and receives 4lb from that rival.
As she is far less exposed, it makes Floressa the one to be on in this at 11/8 with 888Sport – despite Lady Buttons being unbeaten in two starts over the Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle course and distance.
Champagne Well the one to be on in River Don
Champagne Well has some solid form to his name, so is a strong fancy to resume winning ways in the 3m Grade 2 River Don Novices’ Hurdle (15:05).
Trained by Fergal O’Brien, this seven-year-old showed a good attitude to make a winning return to action at Cheltenham in October when finding plenty for pressure to beat Braid Blue by half-a-length.
He then ran a cracker in a Grade 2 at the same venue when finding only Thyme Hill three lengths too good in the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle.
The winner is a top class prospect who has since gone on to make in three from three this season when landing the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury, so that gives the form a rock solid look.
Champagne Well has since finished runner-up in another Grade 2 at the home of jumps racing when going down all guns blazing by three-quarters of a length to Redford Road.
The pair pulled nicely clear of the third home Kiltealy Bridge, who won next time up, whilst the fourth home Mossy Fen has since come out and landed a Grade 2 contest at Warwick.
That is once again strong form which reads well in relation to this. It is somewhat surprising that Champagne Well is not officially the highest in the five-runner line up.
He is entitled to be just that judged on his aforementioned runs. So, at odds of 9/4 with Coral, Champagne well looks well worth a wager.
Mister Fisher can strike for Henderson in Lightning Novices’ Chase
The other Grade 2 on a cracking card is the 2m Lightning Novices’ Chase (12.55).
Only four are set to go to post and it looks a match on paper between Al Dancer and Mister Fisher. Preference is for the latter who is trained by the in-form Nicky Henderson.
Mister Fisher showed a high level of form over hurdles last season when winning twice and finishing eighth of 16 to Klassical Dream in the Grade 1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The six-year-old has his attentions switched to chasing at the start of this campaign and ran very well on unsuitable testing ground at Warwick when a three-length runner-up to Torpillo.
Mister Fisher then duly showed the benefit of that experience when going one better to land a decent class 2 novice contest at Cheltenham last month.
This son of Jeremy travelled and jumped well, apart from making a mistake at the last, and only had to be driven out to readily beat Good Boy Bobby by just over a length.
It was a most taking display, especially as connections feared the soft ground may well have been against him.
The front two pulled 14 lengths clear of the third home Beakstown, who is held in high regard by the Dan Skelton team.
Mister Fisher is clearly going the right way and has a big engine. The return to a sounder surface is also massively in his favour and there is undoubtedly better to come from this imposing gelding.
So, with Al Dancer having failed to live up to expectations in his last two starts since making a winning debut over fences at Cheltenham back in October, Mister Fisher makes plenty of appeal at 6/4 with William Hill to go in again.