Francome hoping Poet can flourish in Tolworth
SANDOWN plays host to the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle, sponsored by 32Red this afternoon, and there could be an interesting winner as Clive Cox steps Poet up in class.
Cox and Poet are both better known for their achievements on the Flat, but the dual Group 3 winner switched codes with immediate success at Newbury last month when taking a maiden hurdle.
John Francome is a part-owner of Poet, and expects a big run, with talk of a tilt at the Champion Hurdle should he win this afternoon.
John Francome: high hopesPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
He said: "Apart from galloping through the first he couldn't have jumped any better at Newbury, and he really used himself. I should think he's run more times than the other six put together and that was probably the easiest race of his life. I just want to see him jump as well again and give a good account of himself."
Melodic Rendevous and Royal Boy will provide stiff opposition, and at Chepstow, as well as the Coral Welsh National, there could be Triumph Hurdle clues in the Grade 1 Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle.
Paul Nicholls has French import Caid Du Berlais making his debut, and the trainer said: "He had nice form in France and we're dipping our toe in the water. I sort of waited for this race to give him his first run and kept him fresh as I've run horses in this race that have run before and on heavy ground and it's been hard work for them. He's a nice horse."
With Flat recruits Ruacana and Swnymor each winning their debuts over hurdles there are some interesting contenders in a race that has been won in previous seasons by Walkon and Franchoek.
Cork, Newcastle and Wincanton all stage jumps meetings, while there is all-weather action from Lingfield.
Cork: Hurdle - soft to heavy. Chase - heavy
Newcastle: Heavy, soft in places last 3f
Sandown: Hurdle - heavy, soft in places. Chase - soft, heavy in places
Wincanton: Heavy, soft in places