London – Ostilio looks one of the more interesting horses in action on a workaday card beneath the Newcastle floodlights.
It might be a little off putting to see Simon Crisford’s youngster already running in a first-time hood, but he is clearly a colt with plenty of boot.
Ostilio, who is closely related to Group 1 winner Ajman Princess, will obviously need to find plenty to justify his Derby entry, but there was not much wrong with his debut performance at Leicester last month.
This son of New Approach pulled very hard for Andrea Atzeni, but eventually grew in stature and ended up finishing a 0.50 length second to Accessor in what was a strong 1400m maiden. And with the fourth horse that day, the 6-4 favourite George Villiers, having since won a race, the form should continue to pay its way.
Illusional looks a worthy rival from the Mark Johnston operation, but Ostilio must surely take the beating in the 32Red.com Novice Stakes.
Rare Groove was a further length away from Accessor at Leicester and later gets the opportunity to stick to his end of the bargain in a 1600m novice auction stakes. Jedd O’Keeffe’s two-year-old made an honourable fist of things from the front but he lacked the zip of the first two home so now steps up to 1600m. There are races to be won with him this winter.
Zaidiyn is perhaps better known as a hurdler these days, but can nonetheless defy the burden of top weight in the Betway-sponsored handicap over 3200m. He arrives at Newcastle in good heart, having finished second in a staying handicap at Doncaster, and yet he is still allowed to run off the same mark of 80. Zaidiyn goes up in distance by nearly 400m and that should do for him.
Lady Buttons has what it takes to win a significant prize on her chasing debut at Bangor. Trainer Phil Kirby simply adores this seven-year-old mare and it is easy to understand why. She claimed a hat trick in handicaps last season, but is certainly eminently capable of winning a Listed race against her own sex.
Indeed, Lady Buttons very nearly did so on Charlie Hall Day at Wetherby when she looked all over odds-on favourite La Bague Au Roi in the olbg.com Mares’ Hurdle. But as try as she might, Kirby’s inmate was eventually worn down by an inspired Richard Johnson, who got the jolly up by two lengths.
That was still a terrific effort, though, and served notice she is in a seriously happy place this autumn.
Kirby has always considered Lady Buttons to possess the size and scope for fences so it will be fascinating to see how she gets on in the Listed mares’ novice chase.
Alan King will no doubt head to Exeter with nervous expectation as Yanworth takes the next step in what could eventually become a star-spangled chasing career.
The Grade 1-winning hurdler looked the part on his debut over fences at this track in October and should certainly not be knocked off his stride in this 3800m novice chase.
Yanworth will be no price, of course, so, from a betting perspective, it might be better to keep closer tabs on stablemate Dingo Dollar.
The five-year-old chestnut lines up in the 4800m limited handicap chase for novices on the back of an interesting fencing bow at Huntingdon last month.
Dingo Dollar did not jump at all well and yet he still finished fourth to give off the distinct impression there is a heck of a lot more to come from the former point-to-point winner.
Unheralded North Yorkshire trainer Sharon Watt will have high hopes for Too Many Chiefs when the staying hurdler is sent into battle at Ayr. This six-year-old gelding was only beaten a length at Kelso and still looks appealingly weighted for this extended 4800m handicap hurdle, even in spite of a 1,5kg rise.
Press Association’s suggested bets: Win: Ostilio 4.15 at Newcastle. Eachway Lady Buttons 1.10 at Bangor. – Press Association