Aubusson On Fire For Fixed Brush Success
Haydock Park stage one of their biggest days of the jumps calendar on Saturday when backers can get stuck into a juicy big handicap, courtesy of the “Fixed Brush” Hurdle over 3m (2.25).
Currently heading the weights on 4/1 is Nicky Henderson’s Volnay De Thaix, who carries a 5lb penalty for winning a decent handicap at Huntingdon 11 days ago (2m4f, soft). This 5yo won with a ton in hand that day and shapes as though this step up in trip could suit, while also in the right end of the handicap based on past renewals…
Of the last 9 “Fixed Brush” Hurdle winners (first run in 2005)…
9 were 5-7yo’s – others were 0-70
9 won during last three runs – others were 0-64
9 won a maximum of three handicap hurdles – others were 0-29
8 carried 10st10lb or more – others were 1-58
8 ran in Listed class or better last time
7 had five handicap hurdle runs or less (11%) – others were 2-85
What the above trends reveal is that runners who won during their last three outings have performed well in this race, boding well for David Pipe’s Katkeau (7/1).
This 7yo also carries a penalty for a recent success, having already won a competitive handicap at Cheltenham last weekend (3m1f, soft) where Big Easy (10/1) was over 2l back in second. It remains to be seen what that 2l took out of Katkeau in testing ground, but he arrives in top form.
Another in form is Nick Williams’ Aubusson (10/1), who was beaten just under 1l when runner-up in a valuable Grade 3 handicap at Chepstow a month ago (2m4f, soft).
He has it to prove over this extra half mile, but is related to a 3m winner and will handle the soft ground. This 3m trip may be a slight concern for Spirit Of Shankly (14/1), who impressed in a 2m4f handicap at Aintree on his reappearance, but was beaten almost 10l when tried over 3m at the same venue back in April.
Three miles will hold no fears, however, for Nicky Richards’ One For Harry, who is well-priced at 20/1 considering he recorded a career best in winning a decent handicap by 9l at Carlisle three weeks ago (2m4f, soft). Beaten only 1l on his only attempt over 3m last term, he should give each-way backers a run for their money.
Elsewhere, Shimla Dawn has a bit to prove stepped up in grade having finished runner-up the last three times over 2m4f-2m5f, but is related to a 3m winner, while Malcolm Jefferson’s Oscar Rock (14/1) has attracted money that could be significant considering this is his first outing of the season.
Tony Martin’s Dara Tango, could be the unknown package. A close fourth in Grade 3 company over 3m back in 2012, he was subsequently absent prior to a winning return on the Flat last month, and looks to have been teed-up for Saturday’s prize.
It will be interesting to see if Aubusson takes his chance, as he remains highly unexposed in this sort of race and could be open to more improvement.