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Wells De Lune bids for fifth win in a row at Stratford

Wells De Lune will have to defy the burden of 12-2 if he is to land his fifth win in a row. Photo: David Pratt
Wells De Lune will have to defy the burden of 12-2 if he is to land his fifth win in a row. Photo: David Pratt

TUESDAY sees the first of two meetings this week in what is a busy time for the course, as Stratford stages a six-race card supporting the Acorns Children’s Hospice, writes David Hucker.

Top of the bill is the £20,000 Stuart Stanley Supporting Acorns Children’s Hospice Handicap Chase over two-and-a-half miles in which Wells De Lune will have to defy the burden of 12-2 if he is to land his fifth win in a row.

All of his four wins this summer have come at Cartmel and he carries a 7lb penalty for his latest success when making all the running to easily beat Ifandbutwhynot by 12 lengths.

The stable also had course winner Play the Ace entered, but have opted for the improving top-weight, who could extend his winning run at the expense of Comanche Chieftain, who struggled to cope with a 10lb rise in the weights when looking to follow up over hurdles at Worcester, but should be happier back over the bigger obstacles now.

The Acorns Children’s Hospice Novices’ Hurdle gets the afternoon’s actions underway at 2.15pm. Ex-French Djin Conti got off the mark at the second time of asking in Britain when scoring at Wincanton in May and runs in this race in preference to the handicap later on.

Henry Smith was well beaten by multiple scorer Hatcher here in July, but returned after a wind operation to score at Bangor-on-Dee to earn an official rating of 119 and looks the one to be on.

There is a field of 12 for the Equine Products Novices’ Handicap Chase over two and three-quarter miles and Torhousemuir could provide each-way value. After finishing second to Eric The Red at Newton Abbot last month, Torhousemuir ran well from a 3lb higher mark to be third to easy winner Peppay Le Pugh over the course a week ago, but is still looking for his first win after 13 attempts.

Although only four line up for the Hibbert Family Handicap Hurdle, it still looks a close race to call, with a case to be made for each of the runners.

Collodi struck for the Neil Mulholland Racing Club when beating Red Ochre at Market Rasen and has gone up 3lbs in the weights as a result. He will be ridden by the excellent Noel Fehily, who returned after a four-month absence through injury to finish second on his only ride at Newton Abbot on Saturday.

Hat-trick seeking Beach Break was also entered at Sedgefield on Thursday, but runs here for trainer Donald McCain.

Ridden by Brian Hughes, who was on the mark at the last meeting, he has gone up another 8lbs for his latest success, but may not have stopped improving yet.

Mr Caffrey has finished runner-up in his last three races after returning from a year’s break and may get his head in front in the Jessica Wilcox Race To The Rainbow Handicap Hurdle. Champion jockey Richard Johnson, who closed the gap on Harry Skelton at the top of this year’s table to 15 after a Saturday treble, rides Knight Commander, formerly trained by Olly Murphy, but now with Leominster-based Steve Flook.

Versifier was sent off favourite to break her duck when finishing runner-up to Hoponandsee at Newton Abbot last month.

Despite still being a maiden after 14 races, she actually went up in the weights for that defeat against a horse who was winning her first race, but could gain her revenge when the two face each other again in the closing Bet At racinguk.com Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

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