JUMP racing resumed at Newton Abbot last week after the short August break and Stratford takes centre stage on Thursday afternoon with the Class Thre Sheila Vaughan Memorial Handicap Chase over two-and-three-quarter miles the feature of a seven-race card, writes David Hucker.
The consistent Kentford Heiress shares joint top-weight of 12-1, but the handicapper may have got her measure now.
Also topping the weights is Wexford winner Plan Of Attack, trained in Ireland by Henry De Bromhead, and it will be interesting to see if he makes the journey to Stratford.
El Terremoto was well-beaten in a novices’ chase at the meeting last year and has since been sold.
He now races for trainer David Pipe, for whom he has had two runs without looking threatening.
Meldrum Lad won a hunter chase here back in May, but looks plenty high enough in the weights from a rating of 127 on his form when trained by Seamus Durack.
Further down the handicap is As You Like, who returned to winning ways at Newton Abbot.
He is owned by John P McManus, whose Midnight Maestro also features amongst the entries and who would be 14lbs better off with Kentford Heiress, who beat him by 27 lengths when they met in June.
There are 29 entries in the opening Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Of Commerce Novices’ Handicap Hurdle over two-and-a-quarter miles that gets the under way at 1.35pm, including Mr Love, who hasn’t run over hurdles since March 2017, but is now with Dan Skelton and could improve on what he has shown to date.
Regulation’s last three runs have all been at Stratford and he is amongst the entries for the Linda Ford And Mary Mumford Memorial Novices’ Handicap Chase over two miles and a furlong.
He was taken on for the lead by the free-running Alexander The Grey at the beginning of the month, quickly dropping away from the penultimate fence, and much will depend on how this race is run.
Newton Abbot hurdles winner Danboru followed up with success over fences at Perth and could revert to the smaller obstacles in the Class Three Walls & Ceilings International Ltd Novices’ Hurdle.
He won a point-to-point over three miles in Ireland and stayed the two-and-three-quarter mile trip at Newton Abbot well, so this race looks right up his street.
Danboru is also entered at Fontwell Park’s evening meeting, along with Oneofthesenights, winner of both her hurdle starts, earning a rating of 130, and Olly Murphy’s Beau Sancy, a winner over fences at Kelso, but yet to score after six races over hurdles.
There is another big entry for the Walls & Ceilings International Ltd Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle which, last year, was divided into two, and Ladies Dancing, who won the first division with Millie Wonnacott, is entered again.
Somerset trainer Alexandra Dunn, who has been having a good run on the flat with 22 winners so far this year, has three entries in what looks to be a competitive contest.
A winner nine times in point-to-points, High Hatton hasn’t been seen under Rules since June 2018 when last of the five finishers in a novices’ hunter chase over the course and distance of nearly three and a half miles.
He is entered in the Watch Racing TV Now Handicap Chase, the longest race on the card but, although he stays three miles well between the flags, he faded badly after the third-last fence that day and the extra distance might catch him out again.
Findusatgorcombe, who has been entered, but not declared a few times in recent weeks could be the one to be on if reunited with Bryony Frost.
Crystal Gazing was runner-up to Josie Abbing at Newton Abbot last time and, with the third horse I’m Notapartygirl boosting the form when winning at the course last week, looks the one to beat in the concluding Like RacingTV On Facebook Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.