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Melody of Scotland ready to call the tune at Stratford

Photo: David Pratt
Photo: David Pratt

STRATFORD Racecourse stages two of its most popular meetings of the year over the next two Sundays, starting with Family Day this weekend, which includes loads of entertainment for children in the centre of the course, writes David Hucker.

The racing highlight of the afternoon is the Class 3 Mid Warwickshire Cleaning & Charles Peters Recruitment Handicap Hurdle (For The Stratford Summer Salver) in which the ex-French Melody Of Scotland, not beaten far on her British debut behind Cause Toujours at Aintree last time, could open her account here for leading owner J P McManus.

Dan Skelton’s Red Tornado, runner-up at Newton Abbot last time, is by far the more experienced, but with retained jockey Barry Geraghty making the trip from Ireland to ride, Melody Of Scotland could be the one to be on.

The first of the seven races, the Pertemps Juvenile Hurdle over two miles, is due off at 2.10pm and there are eight runners with Adams Park, beaten 22 lengths into third place by Boko Fittleworth on his debut at Market Rasen, likely to be well fancied.

Wiltshire trainer Alan King doesn’t have many runners over jumps at this time of the year, with 19 of his last 22 up to Thursday having been on the Flat, as he expands his operations on the level. His Parmenter started the year with a Flat rating of 71 and might show improved form with some flights of hurdles to jump.

Despite being re-opened, the New LDV V80 Van Handicap Chase has cut up to just four runners and Skelton’s OneFor Billy, who runs here in preference to Southwell, heads the weights. He should have a good chance, but faces danger from David Bridgwater’s The Yank, who was also engaged at Newton Abbot on Saturday and should be fit from recent runs on the Flat.

Also re-opened was the Rio Gold Syndicate "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle and this looks like another winning chance for Skelton’s Hatcher, who broke his duck in some style when making all the running at the last meeting.

Drumhart makes a return to racing under Rules after a spell in point-to-points in the PSA Group Handicap Chase over two and three-quarter miles. He won a chase at Downpatrick in June 2016 from a rating of 108 and could be well-treated here from an 8lb lower mark.

Amateur jockey James King reduces his weight by 5lbs and they may have most to fear from Deadly Move, who won off the same mark of 107 at Bangor-on-Dee last September when ridden by champion conditional jockey James Bowen, who will be in the saddle again on Sunday.

Admiral Kid chased home the in-form Isle Road on his debut over fences here last month and could go well in the Coventry Live Handicap Chase, with the top-weight Spoilt Rotten looking a live danger despite his indifferent recent form figures.

Tidal Watch has yet to win in 12 starts under both codes but, with James Bowen in the saddle for the first time, could take the concluding Birmingham Live Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.

Racegoers will see a change in the running of the on-course betting shops this weekend, with William Hill having signed a five-year deal to take over from Betfred on all Jockey Club racecourses, plus six independently owned tracks, including Stratford.

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