Next Sensation can score for Scu
Next Sensation disappointed on seasonal reappearance but looks worth another chance in the 2m handicap chase at Cheltenham today (1.50) now switched back to a left-handed track.
The Michael Scudamore trained gelding showed progressive form throughout last season when winning three times and constantly defying the handicapper.
In the last of those victories, the seven-year-old made all to unchallenged by six lengths from God’s Own at Doncaster, and the runner-up has given the form a very solid look by winning at the Punchestown Festival and following up in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter off an official rating of 155.
Next Sensation then ran an absolutely stormer at the Festival here when beaten just 1 3/4 lengths into fourth behind Savello in the ultra-competitive Grand Annual Chase off a mark of 142.
The son of Brian Boru was given far too an aggressive ride by Richard Johnson and it was to his credit that he only faded close home and managed to finish so close.
Next Sensation was clearly feeling the effects of that gruelling effor when well beaten at Aintree three weeks later, and although finishing just sixth of eight on in his comeback race at Ascot 13 days ago he got unsettled by a bad mistake early doors.
Jockey Tom Scudamore looked after Next Sensation after that error, and he has never really shined when going right handed.
There is little doubt in my mind that he is far better than what he showed at Ascot, and going anti-clockwise at this venue is likely to see Next Sensation in a far better light.
Next Sensation’s mark of 145 also looks exploitable based on his easy success over God’s Own, and he is just 3lb higher than when running such a brave race in the Grand Annual when he arguably would have won if ridden with more restraint.
His handler will also be very keen to get a winner on the day, as the final race on the card is being run in the honour of his grandfather Michael who partnered Oxo to victory in the 1959 running of the Grand National and passed away earlier in the year at the age of 81.