It’s an interesting move by trainer Paul Nicholls to keep SOUND INVESTMENT, who runs in the Bathwick Tyres Handicap Hurdle (1:50 Wincanton), to the hurdles scene this year after openly declaring that chasing would be firmly on his agenda for the 2013/2014 campaign.
There could be many reasons for why Nicholls has gone back on his statement and kept the talented novice hurdling, but Nicholls is a shrewd cookie when it comes to placing horses and our guess would be that he feels this horse is far better than his current mark over the sticks.
Judging by the way he ran last season, that looks a very feasible argument, especially on good ground, which he should get at Wincanton.
After finishing third behind the progressive Puffin Billy on his hurdling debut, he sauntered clear in nice style at Taunton, suggesting that he could have been one of Nicholls’ big guns for the novice hurdle scene.
His reputation was damaged though when running a stinker behind Edmund Kean when well fancied in a novice hurdle at Fakenham.
But, that was on soft ground and a return to a sounder surface soon revitalised the horse’s attitude and ability as he romped clear under Daryl Jacob at Wincanton in April by nine lengths.
It was a performance that only was visually impressive but was one that ticked the boxes in terms of sectionals as Jacob had set ferocious early fractions on the strong travelling sort but managed to sustain his challenge all the way to line.
Despite that nine-length beating of Henryville, who went onto run a nice race at Plumpton on his next start, the handicapper decided not to raise Nicholls’ runner from his mark of 128. A tad surprising considering the ease at which he strode clear of a decent field for the grade.
With the rain staying away from Wincanton, the Graham Wylie-owned charge looks potentially thrown in here and should be backed at all early prices.
His main market rival should come in the form of the John Ferguson-trained Beachfire, who won the Wolfverton Handicap at Royal Ascot on the flat, but has yet to really progress over hurdles despite his powerful connections and trainer.
He has been beaten twice already this season in novice hurdle and we’re not sure a mark of 131 is winnable.
Using a points to profit system just to record our winning margins we are advising a 1pt win on this selection.
Good luck if following, comrades.
Profit & Loss Record
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