In-form trainer Oliver Sherwood will hope that Puffin Billy can bounce back to form in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las
Oliver Sherwood will hope that his Puffin Billy can bounce back to form on a return over hurdles in the Welsh Champion Hurdle. Puffin Billy suffered a heavy fall when running over fences at Ascot, but holds excellent form over the smaller obstacles. Fifth in the Neptune two seasons ago behind five of the very best, he is head and shoulders above in rivals in terms of ability. If he is back at his best he could add another big Saturday prize for his trainer.
In Puffin Billy’s way is the highly regarded Silsol for the Nicholls yard and the classy mare Hidden Identity. Silsol has done little wrong for connections but may just be anchored by his weight in these testing conditions. Hidden Identity on a going day is thrown in at the weights and was not far away at the Festival last March. In what is a competitive renewal Sherwood’s horse gets the nod to bounce back.
At Sandown expect Bristol De Mai and Champagne West to confirm their Cheltenham credentials, with Return Spring to return to form in the Towton at Wetherby.
CROCKFORD’S DEAD CERT – HUGHESIE (FFOS LAS 3.45)
Chased some talented horses home in his starts, now up in trip and against lesser company the signs are of another good performance. Expect this Evan Williams horse to win.
CROCKFORD’S WHISPER – HADRIAN’S APPROACH E/W (SANDOWN 3.35)
Very highly regarded as a novice and a battling winner of the former Whitbred at Sandown. In this he may be carrying a top weight but he has the class to be a contender.
ARCHER’S SELECTION – BRISTOL DE MAI (SANDOWN 1.15)
Archer would have not missed the style in which this grey took the Grade One Finale at Chepstow on his first UK outing. With that form in the book and festival hopes on the horizon he would have been booked.
LUCKY CHANCER – HIDDEN IDENTITY E/W (FFOS LAS 2.05)
Quoted at around 25/1 for Welsh Champion Hurdle success this lucky chancer has plenty of good back-form in the book. If the mare is on a going day she will go close. Fourth last year at the Festival in the Mares Hurdle.
Crockford’s Gambles on Welsh Champion Hurdle Day:
Ffos Las – Village Vic (1.30), Puffin Billy e/w, Silsol e/w and Hidden Identity e/w (Welsh Champion Hurdle 2.05), Global Power and Firebird Flyer e/w (2.40), Albert Bridge e/w (3.10) and Hughesie (3.45)
Sandown – Pain Au Chocolate (12.40), Bristol De Mai (1.15), French Opera (1.50), Champagne West (2.25), El Dancer e/w (3.00) and Hadrian’s Approach e/w (3.35)
Lingfield – Gabrial’s Wawa (2.20)
Wetherby – Pepite Rose (2.10), Ely Brown e/w (2.45), Return Spring (3.20) and Junior (3.55)
(Featured photograph – Ffos Las by Stuart Rice)