Royal Irish Hussar leads Henderson’s Doncaster team
The Grade 2 Summit Juvenile Hurdle is one of two races from Doncaster to be covered by Channel 4 on Saturday. Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten Royal Irish Hussar is among the favourites for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and should extend his winning sequence to four on Saturday.
He won impressively at Cheltenham on his last outing but was given a hard race by Fox Norton on his hurdling debut and that horse re-opposes here. Royal Irish Hussar has improved considerably since and should be able to confirm he form on the same terms.
The Lambourn trainer also saddles the favourite in the handicap chase at 3.15 in Bear’s Affair. The gelding has come up against two smart novices in Le Bec and Wonderful Charm and thoroughly deserved his Kempton victory last time out.
He is only up 4lbs for that win and could still be ahead of the handicapper. Top weight De Boitron and the consistent Carrigmorna King may give him most to do.
Nadiya De La Vega could provide yet another winner for Henderson in the 2.40. Although well beaten in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, the mare had some decent form last season and should appreciate the drop in grade.
Henderson relies on Makari in the handicap hurdle at 1.35 but he will have to improve on a moderate display at Ascot last time. He found a 13lbs rise too much in the valuable William Hill Hurdle and races off the same mark here.
It may be worth taking a chance with former smart flat horse Ted Spread. He was the subject of a couple of ante-post gambles last season when trained by Paul Nicholls but is now with Suzy Smith.
If he retains any of the ability that enabled him to win the Chester Vase in 2010 he must have an each-way chance. There are plenty of others with chances including the Paul Nicholls-trained pair Empire Levant and Ranjaan.
Selections; 11.55 Sir Frank, 12.25 Silver Eagle, 1.00 Princely Player, 1.35 Ted Spread, 2.05 Royal Irish Hussar, 2.40 Nadiya De La Vega, 3.15 Bear’s Affair