Brian Healy’s Best Bets: First time hood can set alight Dennis Hogan charge

Newcastle races.Newcastle races.

Brian Healy (@Brian_Healy) takes a look at the Friday cards from Newcastle, Southwell and Dundalk.

Sadly the loss of Cheltenham’s scheduled fixture leaves just three UK and Irish horse racing meetings to go to post where jumps racing action comes from Newcastle and Southwell, although the latter is subject to a Friday morning inspection to determine whether racing can go ahead. Meanwhile in Ireland in the evening there is action under the floodlights at Dundalk.

Newcastle (jumps) – 12.00 – 3.25pm (7 races)

Southwell (jumps) – 12.50 – 3.45pm (6 races)

Dundalk (flat, aw) – 5.15 – 8.45pm (8 races)



IMPERIAL PRINCE shaped well on his reappearance at Ayr following six months off the track last month, finishing fourth behind Nortonthorpelegend, and Ian Duncan’s
charge can build on that effort to get back to winning ways. The Subtle Power gelding hasn’t won over fences, but he was a dual-winner over hurdles a few seasons back, and he has posted his fair share of creditable runs in defeat over the larger obstacles which include a soft-ground runner-up effort at Ayr back in February. He is back on that mark here, and likely to strip fitter for his return then he could go close if building on the run.


Point-to-point scorer FYFIN PATSY has finished in the runner-up berth in two of her three starts over hurdles since joining Lucinda Russell, and the September Storm mare could be
worth siding with to go one place better here. Her latest came at Hexham last month when finishing eleven lengths’ adrift of Miah Grace, but she ran much better than her 50/1 price tag warranted and she could run well if able to replicate that performance here. One of the more experienced runners in the field, she probably wouldn’t need to find too much improvement to feature in this contest and she can go close.


12.00 – Mr Love
1.40 – Casual Cavalier
2.15 – Sheneededtherun
2.50 – Simply The Betts
3.25 – Wetlands



VERY FIRST TIME lost his way somewhat for Tim Easterby, but the Champs Elysees gelding has shown signs of a revival having joined Dan Skelton and could get back on the
scoresheet here. A dual-winner in testing ground last term, he was last seen finishing a close third behind Beautiful Ben at Market Rasen in September where he was beaten less than two lengths, and if he can continue his return to form then it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him going close. His last two successes have come at this trip, and he ought to appreciate a return to this yardage
having contested over shorter last time so he could be worth siding with in this contest to resume the winning thread.


SHANTOU VOW has offered something to work on on both starts in bumpers either side of five months off, latterly finishing fourth although beaten almost twenty lengths behind Baddesley at Fontwell last month. Harry Whittington’s charge ought to come on for that outing, and the Shantou gelding could find improvement now tackling hurdles in what looks a very winnable contest.
The third horse home from his last run has won since, and while he may ideally want further than this in time he could be worth chancing nonetheless to get off the mark over timber at the first attempt.


12.50 – Grand Coureur
1.25 – Very First Time
2.00 – Jepeck
2.35 – Shantou Vow
3.10 – Peltwell
3.45 – Oriental Cross



STRONG JOHNSON can get back on the scoresheet if continuing his recent good spell of form, and the Le Cadre Noir gelding was a winner at Navan last month with a defeat of
Golden Eye Diamond. Kieran Cotter’s charge has made the frame in each of his last four outings – including that success – and he latterly found only one too strong in heavy ground latest at Naas behind Tide Of Time. He now makes his all-weather debut from 1lb lower, and racing out of a decent berth in the number six stall, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him going close here if his good run of performances carries on.


MAJOR REWARD struck over course and distance on his final outing for Ger Lyons, beating Yuften by just over two lengths, and the Dawn Approach gelding can get back on the winning trail here on his second outing for Denis Hogan. Fourth over a longer trip here at the beginning of the month on his first outing for his new yard, he was beaten just over one length on that occasion having started slowly; but if he can get away on better terms this time around then he can do better from 1lb lower in the weights. The application of a first-time hood could also help draw out some further improvement, and he could be worth chancing to get back on the scoresheet returned to this distance.


5.15 – Big Gossey
5.45 – Strong Johnson
6.15 – Lucky Phil
6.45 – Major Reward
7.15 – Bellepower
7.45 – Getaway Queen
8.15 – Enchanted One
8.45 – Sestriere

Brian Healy’s Best Bets

12:30 Newcastle – Imperial Prince (11/2 William Hill)

1:05 Newcastle – Fyfin Patsy (7/2 Bet365)

1:25 Southwell – Very First Time (13/8 William Hill)

2:35 Southwell – Shantou Vow (7/2 Bet365)

5:45 Dundalk – Strong Johnson (5/1 Paddy Power)

6:45 Dundalk – Major Reward (11/2 Bet365)