Courtandbould seeks Stratford hat-trick
THE weekend's thunderstorms have impacted on the ground for Stratford's behind-closed-doors meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, with the going described as good to soft, soft in places when runners were declared on Monday morning, writes David Hucker.
Courtandbould has won his last two races impressively and looks to complete a hat-trick of course wins in the opening race, the Join Racing TV Now Novices' Hurdle over two miles.
He has to carry a stone and more than all his rivals, of whom the most dangerous could be Olly Murphy's Grey Spirit, three times a winner on the flat for Sir Mark Prescott, but yet to reproduce that form over jumps.
Next up is the Watch On Racing TV Novices' Handicap Chase over two-and-a-half miles in which Going Mobile makes the trip down from Sam England's Guiseley stable and looks the one to beat.
Robin Dicken-trained Phoebus Lescribaa has his first run over fences in more than two years, but couldn't be ruled out on the best of his form, including a win over hurdles at Warwick in May last year.
Lewes trainer Suzi Best had four entries in the Visit racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle over two miles and relies on Officer Drivel, not seen out over jumps for more than four years, but who had a run on the flat at Lingfield Park just eight days ago.
He may find giving weight to Chantecler, who finished third in his first run for the Nicky Henderson stable, a bit of a tough task, although his record of just one win in 21 runs over hurdles suggests he isn't one to bet the house on.
Court In Matera did best of the rest behind easy winner Seaborn at the last meeting and might get his turn in the limelight this time.
Ashutor carries top-weight in the afternoon's feature race, the Sheila Vaughan Memorial Handicap Chase, which won't prove an easy task for a horse with just one run over fences under his belt.
Trainer Paul Nicholls runs him here in preference to Newton Abbot on Friday, which might be a tip in itself.
The rain has been no help for four-time course winner Atlantic Storm, whose wins have all been on good ground, and Dan Skelton's Monsieur D'Arque, who has been raised 9lbs for an easy win last time, is another for whom the ground might be too soft.
The longest race of the afternoon is the Bet At racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle over an extended three-and-a-quarter miles and it sees a first ride over jumps for Poppy Bridgwater, who clocked up 40 winners in the flat.
Her mount Fort Gabriel reverts to hurdles from chasing, but they may find the consistent North Star Oscar, having his first outing following wind surgery, too good at the weights.
The Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Novices' Handicap Hurdle has been divided into two, with Nicky Richard's top-weight No Regrets out to defy a penalty in the first and stable companion Karamoko well-weighted to overcome a long absence under champion jockey Brian Hughes in the second.
Past course winner Romanor heads the weights in the Watch Replays On racingtv.com Handicap Chase and may well add to his record of three wins over the track.
He runs from a rating of 117, but has won from higher in the past, although may find the concession of 20lbs to Blue N Yellow too much.
Keyboard Joan finished strongly in her last run over the course and could go one better in the closing Every Race Live On Racing TV Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, although point-to-point winner Bravo Buddy also showed promise on his first run under Rules for trainer Ian Williams and has Sam Twiston-Davies on board this time.