The exciting Ballinsker looks worth siding with to take the step up into Listed company in his stride and maintain his unbeaten record in the 2m Newton Novices’ Hurdle that gets proceedings underway on Betfair Chase day at Haydock this Saturday (12:05).
This four-year-old won his sole start in an Irish point at Old Castle back in May in tremendous style when quickening clear twice from home to slam Belfast Banter by eight lengths in a quick time.
That taking success saw him purchased a month later at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Sales for £90,000, after which he was sent to join Evan Williams by new owners GG Thoroughbreds.
There was plenty of talk about Ballinsker being something potentially special ahead of his debut under Rules in an 11-runner novice hurdle at Ludlow, and for once the hype proved justified.
The imposing son of Court Cave made all and drew effortlessly clear after the last to win easily by six lengths from Evander. He had the rest of the field strung out like washing.
Ballinsker didn’t have to come out of second gear, and it was an ultra-impressive display which suggested he had a big future and needed keeping firmly onside.
This does demand much more and he faces some smart opponents in the shape of Thebannerkingrebel, Calva D’Auge and Glory And Fortune.
However, such was the impression he created at Ludlow, Ballinsker looks the value Newton Novices’ Hurdle bet at 6/1 with Ladbrokes to prove up to the task and land the spoils en route to even better things.
Jarveys Plate taken to serve it up to Graduation Chase rivals
Having lowered the colours of the highly-touted Reserve Tank on debut in a Listed contest over the larger obstacles, Jarveys Plate looks worth a punt to follow-up in the 2m 5f Betfair Graduation Chase (13:15).
This Fergal O’Brien-trained six year-old Getaway gelding was a useful novice hurdler last season, winning at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
There was also lots to like about the way in which he got the job done at Chepstow last month.
After jumping slowly and making a mistake early doors, Jarveys Plate gradually warmed and produced a fine leap at the last when driven to challenge Colin Tizzard’s dual Grade 1 novice hurdler.
He then quickened smartly on the run-in to score readily by four lengths, and the runner-up has since come out and landed a Grade 2 contest at Wincanton in impressive fashion.
There appeared to be no excuses for Reserve Tank, who was sent off the 4/5 favourite, so that gives the form a solid look.
Given the way in which he disposed of such a classy performer, Jarveys Plate looks like an exciting chasing recruit and a horse for in-form O’brien to go to war with this season.
He does face a smart opponent in the shape of Grade 2 winning hurdler Midnight Shadow, however, who heads the betting at 15/8 with Boylesports.
That one took a crashing fall at the last when looking likely to open his account over fences last time out though, and it remains to be seen if that has dented his confidence.
So, at 11/4 with Paddy Power, Jarveys Plate looks by far the safer betting proposition and the one to be on at the odds on offer in this Graduation Chase race following the Newton Novices’ Hurdle.
Bold Plan appeals each-way in handicap after Newton Novices’ Hurdle
In the 2m 2f Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle (13:50), Bold Plan looks on a handy mark and makes plenty of each-way appeal at 8/1 with BetVictor.
This lightly-raced Evan Williams trained five-year-old has had just five starts over hurdles.
He shaped really well on the second of those when a 10-length third of 13 to Rouge Vif at Southwell.
The winner is a useful sort who went on to land a Grade 2 at Kelso and finish a fine third to Felix Desjy in an Aintree Grade 1 off an official rating of 142. That gives the form a strong look.
Bold Plan went on to score over hurdles next time up at Taunton when keeping on strongly on soft ground to beat Southfield Stone by 1 1/4 lengths.
Although receiving 7lb from the runner-up, that Paul Nicholls inmate went on to land a Grade 2 next time up to be rated 148, so it was a smart performance by Bold Plan.
The son of Jeremy went on to round off the campaign with a solid staying on nine-length second of 18 to Poker Play on handicap debut at Uttoxeter.
Bold Plan was sent off a well-backed 7/1 shot for the valuable Grade 3 Silver Trophy at Chepstow last month on the back of those efforts, but shaped as if badly needing the run in finishing a well-beaten 10th of 16 to Flash The Steel.
Better was clearly expected, so it would be no surprise to see him come on significantly for that outing and put in a much improved effort now eased in grade.
Judged on his runs against Rouge Vif and Southfield Stone, Bold Plan should be up to winning a race of this nature off his current mark of 132.