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Bumper crowd expected at Stratford Racecourse for Ladies' Day

Vosne Romanee will have to be at the top of his game to see off a number of rivals lower down the weights. Photo: David Pratt
Vosne Romanee will have to be at the top of his game to see off a number of rivals lower down the weights. Photo: David Pratt

AFTER the success of Family Day a week ago, there should be another bumper crowd for Stratford’s popular Ladies Day, supported by Touch FM, this Sunday, which gets underway at 2.10pm, writes David Hucker.

Topping the racing bill is the £25,000 Finnick Group Handicap Chase over two miles and one furlong and, not surprisingly given its value, this Class 2 event has attracted a competitive field, headed by dual course winner Vosne Romanee, who easily picked up the front-running Royal Plaza going to the last on his recent start.

He now runs off a career-best handicap mark of 140 and will have to be at the top of his game to see off a number of rivals lower down the weights, including Master Burbidge, who should improve for his comeback run after a break at Worcester when running out of gas after blundering at the second-last fence.

Dual winner Leapaway will be a short price to land the opening Shakespeare Media Novices’ Hurdle over two miles for champion jockey Richard Johnson, as he looks to close the gap on Harry Skelton at the top of this year’s table.

Havisham, who was pulled up behind Mr Mafia at Southwell, has been declared in this race, rather than the later seller, but it is Romanor, who sprang a 20-1 surprise when beating Regulation in a handicap over the course last month, who looks the danger to the favourite.

Olly Murphy’s Knight Commander held every chance when falling at the penultimate flight at Southwell last time and could gain compensation in the following Allan Atkinson Memorial Handicap Hurdle over an extended two and a quarter miles.

He has since had a run on the Flat, but resumes his jumping campaign on the same mark of 109 and looks to have a good chance of giving Johnson a quick double.

On official ratings, Ordo Ab Chao, beaten six lengths by the useful Our Three Sons over fences last time, could be another for the Murphy/Johnson combination in the Touch FM Selling Hurdle. KingAlfonso, who mixed chasing and hurdling last season, looks the one for the forecast.

Mr Mafia, who was completing a four-timer at Newton Abbot when quickening up best in the home straight in a slowly-run race, is looking for another win in the Stuart Stanley Retro Rebel Handicap Hurdle.

He has been raised to a handicap mark of 116, fully 22lbs above his rating at the start of his winning streak, but may still have some improvement left to come.

Back in fourth that day was Kentford Heiress, who couldn’t go the pace of the first three after being held up, but she is pretty consistent and runs here in preference to Cartmel on Saturday, so could get her revenge this time.

How Mr Mafia performs could be a guide to the chances of Craigmor in the following New Destination Spa At The Ardencote Novices’ Handicap Chase, as Olly Murphy’s runner finished four and a half lengths behind him at Southwell.

Craigmor starts his campaign from a handicap mark of 106 and, although unsuccessful in five runs over hurdles, he won a point-to-point and chasing may prove to be his game.

Mayllan, runner-up at Uttoxeter on her debut, should take the closing Dan Skelton Racing Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race for trainer Alan King and jockey Wayne Hutchinson.

Gates open at 12.10pm, two hours before the first race and the course is offering a High Tea & Fizz Package which includes entry, a glass of fizz on arrival, racecard and afternoon tea for £45. Bookings can be made on 01789 267949.

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