Rhys Williams ended last week with each-way bets placed at 66/1 and 100/1 and he is back today with another big-priced selection at Southwell.
Showed promise in both bumpers
Southwell 19:50: Bai d’Opale 1pt e/w 80/1
There’s not much strength in depth to this maiden hurdle at Southwell. Halifax sets a fair standard on hurdles form but no more than that and there’s a gap after him to Sister Michael and Mr Dealer. Dreamweaver showed a good level of ability on the flat and is making his hurdling debut but the market hasn’t missed his chance whereas I think it has overlooked the chance of another hurdling debutant.
Bai d’Opale started his career in Irish points and was pulled up on debut at Dromahane before running fairly well in a good maiden at Punchestown.
He moved to Louise Allan after that and was off the track for just over ten months before making his debut for her in a bumper at Warwick. He raced handily from the off and went to the front soon after turning away from the stands. He was joined by Bertie Blue running down the hill on the far side but stayed upsides that rival in front until Bai d’Opale hung right and was unsteerable on the final bend. He lost a lot of ground as he went all the way to the near rail and lost any chance but once straightened up he stayed on again to finish seventh.
I think that was quite a strong bumper and he ran in another good bumper at Market Rasen on his most recent start. There was a complete change of tactics on that occasion as he was held up and he was still there in a tightly packed field turning into the home straight. He was outpaced by the leaders with just over two furlongs to go but stayed on to only be beaten six lengths in fifth.
The ability that Bai d’Opale showed in the point at Punchestown and in both bumpers suggests that he could be competitive in a race of this quality and he’s already got jumping experience in points so hopefully he will take to hurdling with no problem.
There is the obvious concern that he’s running on a left-handed track and he could hang violently right off a bend again and he might race too keenly up in trip but given the ability he’s shown I think he’s overpriced and any 40/1 or bigger appeals.