Ferguson feels that Purple Bay is no 20/1 shot in Christmas Hurdle bid

Newmarket Journal MARCH 2013''John Ferguson Cheltenham preview stable tour.'Purple Bay ENGANL00220130503134143

Newmarket Journal MARCH 2013''John Ferguson Cheltenham preview stable tour.'Purple Bay ENGANL00220130503134143

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John Ferguson believes that the ante-post odds of Purple Bay do not reflect his chances in the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Cowlinge handler Ferguson feels that betting firms may have over-priced the five-year old in the Grade One two mile contest on Boxing Day.

Despite running out a four-length winner of the Grade Two StanJames.com Elite Hurdle at Wincanton last time out, and having the assistance of 19-times champion National Hunt jockey Tony McCoy in the saddle, the son of Dubawi is as big as 20/1 in places.

“Purple Bay is the second highest rated horse in the race and having won the Elite Hurdle last time out he is certainly no 20/1 chance,” said Ferguson.

“It certainly won’t be easy beating Faugheen but his price does not reflect his chance.”

At the other end of the spectrum one-time useful Flat performer Zip Top will be making his debut over hurdles when contesting the opening Class Two Novices’ Hurdle, while Ferguson will also be represented on the day by Aalim who will shoulder topweight in the concluding 2m5f Class Three handicap hurdle.

“Zip Top has good Flat form and was second in the Racing Post trophy to Camelot in 2011,” said Ferguson.

“He has had his fair share of injuries since then and this will be his first run over hurdles. However, he is fit and well and should give a good account of himself.”

“As for Aalim he should have come on for his run at Sandown and he should be there or thereabouts.”

Ferguson could make another journey back down to Kempton on Saturday to run Three Kingdoms in the Grade Two williamhill.com Novices’ Chase (registered as the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase).

While useful over hurdles the son of Street Cry has taken a real shine to fences winning both his starts to date over the larger obstacles.

“If the ground remains good I will run Three Kingdoms in the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase but he won’t run if it is soft,” said Ferguson.

“He was a horse that jumped well over fences at home and I am delighted the way he has taken to it as you could see he was going to be a chaser.”

Back on the hurdles front Ferguson has confirmed that recent Cheltenham winner Parlour Games is on course to tackle the Grade One Betfred Goals Galore Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury on 
Monday.

“Parlour Games has been in rude health and I was not surprised by how well he won at Cheltenham. He is getting better with every experience and hopefully he will run well again,” said Ferguson.