Fontwell preview: Benefits Well can cash-in on handy mark
Benefits Well shaped with plenty of promise last out following a lengthy spell on the sidelines, and looks weighted to take all the beating in the 2m 5f handicap hurdle which opens proceedings on this evening’s card at Fontwell (16.50).
The gelding came good at the first time of asking over hurdles back in June 2013 when in the care of Brendan Powell, showing a good attitude to dig deep and beat the now 125-rated Kilbree Kid by a neck.
Benefits Well then flopped next time up when tailed-off at Fontwell, but was clearly amiss and subsequently off the track for 21 months.
However, the eight-year-old showed that he retained plenty of ability on his belated return to action last month when an eye-catching third at Uttoxeter on his first start for trainer Warren Greatrex.
After racing rusty the at the rear of the 10-runner field and getting outpaced at a crucial stage, Benefits Well made good headway two from home and stayed on strongly to be beaten just two lengths.
It was a most pleasing comeback, and one which suggested Benefits Well was ahead of his current mark of 110.
The son of Beneficial also remains unexposed after just three starts over the obstacles, and this weak looking class 4 contest looks a great opening for Benefit’s Well to get back to winning ways and start making up for lost time.
In the 2m 3f handicap hurdle (18.50), Popping Along can get the better of Royal Battalion and Tijori to provide in-form trainer Jeremy Scott with another success.
The mare shaped nicely in four bumper runs before making a winning debut over hurdles at Uttoxeter when finding plenty for pressure to beat Lolli by a neck.
Popping Along looked sure to win more races judge on the manner of that success, but has been let down by her jumping in two subsequent starts when finishing fourth on both occasions.
Connections have since given the six-year-old a small break to freshen up, and Popping Along now makes her handicap debut of what looks a very fair an opening mark of 109.
The daughter of Volochine also has the services of Matt Griffiths in the saddle who is good value for his 3lb claim, and small field should enable her to get into a nice jumping rhythm.
If that proves to be the case, Popping Along could be prove extremely difficult to peg back if allowed an easy lead.
16.50: Benefits Well (NAP)
17.50: Native Princess
18.20: Owner Occupier
18.50: Popping Along (NB)
19.20: The Wee Midget