We look to Mr Pumblechook to kick-start 2019 for Barbury
We sign off from what has been a memorable 2018 for Barbury at Warwick and Lingfield today, with Nobby returning to the Midlands course in an effort to repeat his May course win there in the bumper, while Caspar the Cub and Cosmeapolitan, first and third for us in the same race at Kempton in November, renew rivalry on the Surrey track.
Caspar the Cub has thrived in cheekpieces these past two months, rattling off four consecutive victories at Kempton, but, not surprisingly, he has taken an 18lb hike in the ratings during that period, and, though he was beaten at 4-7 on his sole start at Lingfield, Alan has the big pot back there on Good Friday very much in mind so is eager to try again in the headgear which seems to have reinvigorated him.
Cosmeapolitan enjoys a 12lb pull with Caspar the Cub, though he was beaten five lengths and has himself been trounced on both his visits to Lingfield, but let’s forget the negativity and hope that either of that pair or any of our three runners on the final day of the year can give us further reason to make this Hogmanay a bit special.
So what chance of a flying start to 2019 in the opener at Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day meeting – well, in Mr Pumblechook we have a talented novice who deserves his chance of dipping his toes in deeper waters, having scored a bloodless success at Plumpton last time.
Alan said:”Mr Pumblechook’s second to Kateson at Newbury’s Ladbroke meeting was given a boost when the winner finished third in last week’s Challow Hurdle on the same course, and our fellow has improved since we stepped him up half a mile.
“We are also looking forward to Fuseau in the Cheltenham bumper. He is a lovely young horse, and I was very impressed how well he finished off his race when second at Doncaster. He’s a big, scopey individual and one for the future.
“Our third runner there is Karezak in the three-mile handicap hurdle. Like Mr Pumblechook, he ran at Newbury’s big meeting of the year, but it was his first effort over jumps since he was fourth in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in 2015, and he was always going to need a race or two to sharpen him up.”