Weekend Blog – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

It’s a very busy weekend for the yard. A lot of horses have had their flu jabs over the course of the last month because you have to do them every six months now. We’ve got a lot of horses ready to go and a lot of horses who have only had one run writes HARRY SKELTON.

As we’re working towards the spring, I think there’s a lot to come from a lot of them. Quite a few made their debuts on testing ground in the autumn, so had hard races, but they’re quite fresh now. They seem to be in really good order at home. That said, the forecast says it’s going to get very cold next week which would be frustrating as we’ve got a lot who are ready to go. Let’s hope the weather holds off.

SATURDAY

WARWICK

ETALON


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– 12:05pm Unibet Edward Courage Cup Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase 2m
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He runs in a two-runner handicap chase. It’s a bit disappointing for everyone that there’s only two runners. He’s taken a nice step forward from the race at Newbury. The trip and ground are no problem and with a clear round he’s going to be very tough to beat. We can then look forward to the spring with him. We’ve always held him in high regard and hopefully he can take a bit of beating.

THEFORMISMIGHTY (pictured below)


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& KATTEGAT


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– 1:15pm Wigley Support Fund ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) 2m 3f
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Theformismighty has improved with each run this year and I think he’s taken a step forward again at home. We haven’t seen the best of this horse yet, there’s plenty to come from him. I’m hoping for a good run and as we head towards the spring, I think three miles will be what he wants.

Ciaran Gethings rides Kattegat. She’s a bit of a work in progress and she’ll find her feet when she gets into handicap company. It was a bit frustrating she unseated the last day at Ludlow so it’s basically her first start over hurdles.

MARTHA BRAE


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– 1:49pm Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Pertemps Hurdle Series Qualifier) (GBB Race) (Class 2)  3m 1f
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She goes in the Pertemps qualifier after a good win at Kempton over Christmas. She’s a dour stayer and has kept on improving nicely. She can be a bit of a tricky ride in that you can’t really bully her into anything – you have to kid glove her a little bit. She’s in great form at home, she stays the trip and she’ll handle the ground. Has the handicapper got hold of her yet? We’ll have to see.

GREY DAWNING


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– 2:24pm Trustatrader Hampton Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 3m
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This is a really hot race with Broadway Boy and Apple Away in there. I’m on Grey Dawning who is back up to three miles. He won at this meeting last year and should handle the ground fine. He was a bit unfortunate the last day at Cheltenham, just making a little novicey mistake two out but then rallying really well to go down by just half a length.

He’s been schooling and working well, and I hope he puts up a good performance. Broadway Boy is a big improver but he has to give us a bit of weight which we’ll take. You have to respect Apple Away as well getting the mares’ allowance. It’s a good race but I think we’ve got a good horse.

GALIA DES LITEAUX


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– 3:00pm Wigley Group Classic Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 3m 5f
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She runs in the Classic Chase. We’ve decided to put cheeckpieces on as we think they might just help her travel through the race a little bit easier and make her a little bit sharper. She’s schooled well in them at home. I probably didn’t make enough use of her at Newbury.

This race is over 3m5f, so it’s obviously going to be all about stamina. It will be a proper test. I don’t see that as a problem but it’s one of those “we’ll see” races. You never know when you run them over this trip whether they’ll handle it, whether they’ll stay, but she’s got a bit of class about her, she’s won at the track before and she’ll handle the ground. If she puts her best foot forward, I’d say she’ll have a really competitive chance.

THOMAS DARBY


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– 3:35pm Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase (2023 Veterans’ Chase Series Final) (Class 2) 3m
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He’s a nice spare ride to pick up a spare ride in the Veterans’ Final and it’s great they’ve got this race back on after Sandown fell by the wayside last weekend. It’s always great to ride for my good friend Olly Murphy. Thomas Darby is a course and distance winner and he has a bit of class about him. I think they’ve been very happy with him coming into the race and he should hold every chance.

JACK BLACK


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– 4:05pm Wigley Community Fund Open National Hunt Flat Race (Category 1 Elimination) (GBB Race) (Class 2) 2m
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I finish the meeting off in the bumper on Jack Black. It was a nice run at Exeter where he galloped on well. He stays well and has improved since that run based on what we’ve seen at home. He’ll handle the ground and I expect him to run very well.

WETHERBY

THE KING OF RYHOPE – 1:10pm William Hill Towton Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) 2m 3 1/2f
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We have a few runners up at Wetherby but he’s the one I’d keep an eye on up there in the Towton Novices’ Chase. They’ve put this race back to two and a half miles which will suit us very well. The ground was very heavy at Ffos Las the last day. It really was extreme and he didn’t quite handle it. He’s in great form at home. He won first time up at Chepstow over fences and I think this horse has a bit of class about him. He should go very well.

KEMPTON

FLEGMATIK (pictured below) – 1:30pm New Bet-In-Race With Coral Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) 3m
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He has run very well over course and distance in the past, but it’s been a bit frustrating not to get his head in front recently. He hits a bit of a flat spot at the wrong point of the race and then seems to finish well. If things fall right for him, he’ll enjoy what will hopefully be a bit of better ground. The track obviously suits him, Tristan Durrell takes off a few pounds and hopefully he will run well.

JAY JAY REILLY & LANGER DAN – 2:42pm Coral Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) 2m 5f
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We won the Lanzarote last year with West Balboa and we have two runners this time. It will be tough for Langer Dan off top weight, but I could see Jay Jay Reilly running all right back over hurdles. He’ll be a big price but I wouldn’t rule him out sneaking into the places.

Good Luck
HARRY

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Author: Eugene Morris