Captain Teague is the potential star attraction at Chepstow on Friday as last season’s Champion Bumper third transitions to the jumping game in the Unibet Persian War Novices’ Hurdle.
The Paul Nicholls-trained five-year-old already has some experience over obstacles as an Irish point-to-point winner and he made an impressive start to his career under rules at Plumpton in December.
Captain Teague was a 40-1 shot when he stepped up to Grade One level at the Cheltenham Festival in March, but ran a fine race to finish best of the British behind Irish bumper star A Dream To Share and Nicholls is looking forward to getting his hurdling career under way in Monmouthshire.
“This is a tough race to pitch him in on his debut over hurdles, but he is smart and was our leading bumper horse last season,” Nicholls told Betfair.
“It’s encouraging that he won his point-to-point before joining us, he’s done plenty of schooling at home and is a solid jumper at home.
“He was a bit difficult to train last winter as he suffered from sore shins at times, but this year he is more of a man. All of our runners on this card have done plenty of work and look fit. I’m very happy with his preparation.”
Captain Teague’s rivals include Dan Skelton’s recent Worcester scorer Rock House and Mullinaree, who has his sights raised by Milton Harris having won his last five starts in handicap company.
Harris said: “He’s battle-hardened and he knows what to do. He might not be as sexy as Paul’s horse and one or two others, but he knows how to race and he’ll put it to them.
“He’s very, very well. I nearly got him ready a bit too early, so he won’t be wanting for fitness – and if one of two of these sexier ones are lacking a bit of fitness, they’re in trouble I’d say.
“The owners are new owners to me, they’ve won five in a row and the horse is going to go novice chasing when his novice status over hurdles runs out.
“He’s a chaser really, but I think he’s a competitor on Friday in what looks an open race.”
The Olly Murphy-trained Resplendent Grey won a couple of minor novice events at Wetherby and Perth in April and adds further strength to the Grade Two field.
“He’s a horse who has got a lot of ability. He’s been given a mark of 120 and I’d like to think he’s a lot better than his mark,” Murphy told Sky Sports Racing.
“I’d probably be better off running in a handicap, but this is good prize-money, he’s only a novice until the end of November and if he relaxes in the early part of the race, I think the step up to two and a half miles is going to suit him really well.
“It looks a competitive race, as you’d expect, but I don’t see any reason why he hasn’t got a really nice each-way chance.”