Son Du Berlais to outclass Persian War Novices' Hurdle rivals at Chepstow

Nicky Henderson is beginning to let loose some of his big guns for the fledgling National Hunt season and the master of Seven Barrows could have a smart prospect on his hands in the shape of French recruit Son Du Berlais, and the exciting four-year-old will aim for his second win of the season in Chepstow's Grade 2 Persian War Novices' Hurdle on Saturday.

A facile winner on his British debut at Newton Abbot, the gelding will be piloted by AP McCoy, who returns to the saddle after an absence, and the manner in which he dotted up at odds-on last month suggested there's a lot more to come from the JP McManus-owned raider and he has to set the standard for a race that has unearthed star talent before. Son Du Berlais currently heads the betting market at 9/4 with Bet 365.

Paul Nicholls's Vicente, who is available at 5/1 with William Hill, showed tremendous battling qualities last week when edging out Paddy Power Gold Cup contender Present View at Cheltenham and the Ditcheat inmate will attempt to follow up now stepped up in grade. Sam Twiston-Davies got a real tune out of the son of Dom Alco at Prestbury Park last Friday and even though he will need to produce more against a host of in-form rivals he has to be respected.

Blaklion was unable to take his place in the aforementioned Cheltenham race won by Vicente due to veterinary advice, but the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained five-year-old was a comfortable winner on his first start of the season at Perth to continue his progression from last season and having not had the exertions of last week could feature prominently.

John Ferguson's My Direction eased to a five-length win at Worcester in September and appears to still be on a gradual incline, but whilst he had the making of a run-of-the-mill event at Worcester this is a whole new challenge and he may just lack the scope of some his rivals and he may have to settle for minor honours.

The Pirate's Queen is an eye-catching runner for Alan King as she contested some red-hot Listed mares' hurdles last season and showed she doesn't lack for any talent, with Bet365.com pricing her 5/1. She will receive weight from all her male adversaries, but having only won once in her eight starts she could just find one too good in what will be a really informative renewal.

Peter Bowen's Henllan Harri and Robert Stephens's Mile House head to Wales in fine fettle after a brace of wins on the spin, but this is a whole lot tougher and it could be Rebecca Curtis's Relentless Dreamer that is one of the primary dangers as he was a fine four-and-a-half length winner over course and distance last time out and could improve again to make the places.

With so many contenders heading into the prestigious event in such positive form it's tough to rule out many of them, but in Son Du Berlais Nicky Henderson has a really attractive jumping prospect and his class may just prevail on Saturday as he uses this race as a springboard to bigger and better things later in his career.

Tip: Son Du Berlais @ 9/4 with Bet365 -

2014 Persian War Novices Hurdle Odds

Posted: Friday, 24th October 2014
Author: Chris James

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