RUBY WALSH will apparently return to the saddle at Newbury on Friday, with Niche Market looking his likely mount.
It’s a little odd then that even at yesterday’s stage he was still booked to ride Round Tom at Taunton tomorrow (2.50pm), a horse who must have a great chance regardless of who pilots him.
Walsh’s return from a broken leg is obviously eagerly-anticipated and, as ever, there will be those that believe his first ride back is a certainty – come back on a good one and all that.
So whether he actually takes up the ride or not, presumably at some point Round Tom was going to be his comeback ride and it’s not hard to see his chance on form.
He ran a decent race when second to the pretty useful Buck Mulligan last time and ought to have a very good chance whoever rides him in this weakish novices hurdle.
Nicholls also has Rebel Rebellion and Merehead entered in Taunton’s opener tomorrow as well as Aldertune in the novices chase at 2.50pm and the latter, in particular, should also have a fine chance if taking up his engagement.
The Nicholls horses aside, though, tomorrow may be best left to the all-weather with three big fancies at Wolves in the evening and something of a certainty in the first at Southwell.
That so-called certainty – the Michael Wigham-trained Reachforthebucks – has been nothing short of a revelation since returning from a break, rattling off a quick three timer with the minimum of fuss. He was backed as if very-well handicapped on the first of those three runs and while he now shoulders a 12lb penalty it’s anyone’s guess how far this chap is ahead of the handicapper. And he’s apparently still open to improvement with his trainer saying last time he’s “still as green as a cabbage”.
Forget 12lbs, this one is probably about 20lbs ahead of the assessor and it would be a massive shock were he to be beaten tomorrow though the Dandy Nicholls-trained One Pursuit is clearly the biggest danger, if there is one.
The rest of Southwell’s card looks decidedly dodgy but backing Falmouth Bay (7.40pm), Desert Strike (8.10pm) and Stoneacre Garth (8.40pm) ought to end in profit at Wolverhampton.
Stoneacre Gareth is another of those recent winners with a six-pound penalty but he hosed up the other day and that anchor won’t stop him if the seven-year-old is in the same form.
I don’t know much about trainer K F Clutterbuck but this horse was once rated 73 so even now off 51 he ought top be some way ahead of the handicapper.
Desert Strike, meanwhile, came second in two decent enough maidens last year for Michael Bell and entries in the £150,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Sprint, £250,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Trophy and £150,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Cup show that this horse is blatantly going to be a smart three-year-old.
She ought to be a steering job for Hayley.
And finally there’s Falmouth Bay, representing Middleham Mark Johnston’s yard, a horse who just might be out of the top drawer based on his very impressive debut.
Now in a handicap, following up tomorrow will be much harder and we’ve had our fingers burned already by a few Johnston thinnens recently but this one certainly has the potential to beat Coral Moon and Angelic Upstart.