Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM
CAN it really be 10 years since Jim Old savoured his finest hour courtesy of Collier Bay's win in the Champion Hurdle?
The popular Wiltshire handler has endured some rough patches since that memorable day, but his fortunes have taken a marked turn for the better recently and SUPER LORD (nap) can continue the revival at Chepstow this afternoon by landing an absorbing novice chase at 2.35.
Although this gelding is inexperienced compared to most of the field is offset by the fact that main rivals Bob Bob Bobbin and Woodlands Genpower have yet to look the finished article over fences.
By contrast, Super Lord leaves the strong impression that an early switch to chasing could well be the making of him.
Racing Correspondent An easy defeat of above-average rivals on his hurdling debut at Windsor marked him out right away as an interesting prospect. And Super Lord bolstered that view with a fine performance in a wellcontested novice chase at Warwick last month, where he jumped like a natural throughout and was given an easy time once Basilea Star and Ardaghey took his measure in the straight.
It's only reasonable to expect a fair bit more improvement from Super Lord.
His bold jumping will be a big asset on this demanding track and he won't be easy to peg back if Bob Bob Bobbin and Woodlands Genpower fail to fence with the same accuracy.
Ruby Walsh's strike rate for Paul Nicholls this term stands at just shy of one winner to every three rides, and plenty of punters will be backing him to improve it in the two halves of the maiden hurdle.
ALFORMASI is a progressive galloper who looks bound to go well in the first division at 1.00, but the former point-to-pointer Teeton Babysham might just have to play second fiddle to the improving BILLESEY in division two at 1.30.
Brendan Powell's horses appear in good nick, and his runaway Taunton winner Methodical looks a potential short priced favourite for the handicap hurdle which closes the Chepstow card at 4.15.
Her chance on the ratings is undeniable, but the fact that she produced such a vastly improved effort on good ground at Taunton raises worries as to whether she will prove as effective on this much more testing surface.
The percentage call is to seek eachway value elsewhere, and the Exeter runner-up BALLY BOLSHOI fits the bill now that she has Richard Johnson aboard for the first time.
Musselburgh's card also features a potential handicap snip in the shape of GOLDEN FEATHER. …