It was a very tough decision to choose Petit Mouchoir over Apple’s Jade in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, but I went back and watched the video of their Down Royal run again and you can’t get away from the fact that Petit Mouchoir is definitely the one you would take out of the race.
I know that was nowhere near their best form but Henry’s horse clearly didn’t get the run of the race and Davey looked after him, so I am hoping that he will have improved a lot for it.
We know what a good horse he was from last season, when he was just touched off in two Grade 1s at Aintree and Punchestown, and in fact the latter of those runs was probably a lot better than it seemed at the time as he scoped dirty after the race.
There is obviously a fair chance that I have chosen the wrong one, but Henry seems very happy with the horse. And I have actually sat on both at home recently, with Petit Mouchoir giving me marginally the better feel.
There is no getting away from the fact that Apple’s Jade was disappointing at Down Royal even though Gordon was adamant that she would improve a good deal for the run having not had her that long.
She just didn’t look the same filly as she did at Aintree last season, though, and you do have to question the value of last season’s juvenile form now. It is often hard for the youngsters to compete with the more seasoned, older horses at this stage of the season, and particularly if you are a filly, and there is a suspicion that Apple’s Jade may want a trip now as well.
Hidden Cyclone has been a grand servant and comes here in good form, but I can’t see him being quick enough in this grade, and Mirsaale looks outclassed.
Irving won this race two seasons ago and goes well when fresh, but I would be disappointed if I couldn’t beat him.
Sceau Royal is a different matter altogether. Alan has clearly found the key to him after he disappointed at Cheltenham and Aintree last season, and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the return to Grade 1 company. He has looked very good and smooth in his two wins this season.
There probably isn’t a great deal between the front three in the betting, and you can give Irving a chance as well, but the drying conditions will suit my horse and I just hope I have made the right call.
Tempted to have a flutter on the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle on Saturday? See the latest odds here – we’re offering enhanced place terms on the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, 1/3 odds a place – plus there are also price boosts on all races shown on Channel 4. Check out our casino if you’re still in the mood for a flutter!