Nicky Henderson’s Charli Parcs adds some star billing to Musselburgh’s Saturday card as the exciting novice hurdler is set to take his chance in the Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial, live on Sky Racing 1.
A leading hope for either the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, Charli Parcs was taken out of a Triumph Hurdle trial at Cheltenham last weekend following rain as Henderson is keen to get good ground for the four-year-old. Formerly a winner of his only start in France, Charli Parcs made an exciting British debut when a facile winner of a juvenile hurdle at Kempton in December. The win was particularly impressive having conceded weight due to a penalty for his French success and he did everything right in travelling strongly, jumping fluently and pulling stylishly clear in a quick time.
Charli Parcs will be very difficult to beat on Saturday night which his odds will reflect but there are some good entries which will provide a good stepping stone to the Cheltenham Festival. Most notable amongst them is the John Quinn-trained Project Bluebook who will have his first run in the colours of J P McManus who also owns Charli Parcs. The legendary owner made the move after Project Bluebook took advantage of a lenient handicap mark with a smooth win over the track and distance last month and has also shown a natural ability over hurdles.
Paul Nicholls has entered Cliffs Of Dover who’s winning run was extended to five in a Grade 2 juvenile hurdle at Doncaster in December. The four-year-old has been a star of this division through the winter taking his racing really well and also demonstrating tactical versatility after switching to front-running tactics last time. Races will get tougher as he continues to meet lightly-raced and talented hurdlers but it’s hard not to admire Cliffs Of Dover’s record and he’s sure to make a bold bid.
Alan King has entered another former French horse in Fidux who is unbeaten in two runs in the UK over hurdles. The four-year-old built on a Catterick win with an all the way success at Kempton and although this looks a big step-up he’s progessing nicely.
Meanwhile Nicky Henderson has a second entry with hurdling debutante Soldier In Action who is a four time winner on the Flat. The four-year-old has made the switch from Mark Johnston and was a really impressive winner of a Goodwood handicap (1m4f) before disappointing in the November Handicap. Saturday’s minimum distance may prove on the sharp side against this quality of opposition and it’s a stiff introduction to hurdling.
Henderson has a good record in the race with two winners in the last eight renewals and Hargam who won this in 2015 for the trainer went on to finish third in the Triumph Hurdle at The Festival.
The Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial is Race 3 from Musselburgh on Saturday night.