Alcester handler Dan Skelton could see West Cork make a winning debut over fences at Warwick today
WEST Cork, last seen when falling over hurdles at Haydock Park in May, could make a winning debut over fences for Alcester trainer Dan Skelton in the Class 3 Jewson Stratford-Upon-Avon Stan Mellor Memorial Novices' Chase at Warwick today (Tuesday), writes David Hucker.
West Cork has some good hurdles form, including when beating Adagio In the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle a year ago, and could prove too good for Stage Star, the choice from two entries for champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who has failed to complete the course in his last two runs and returns after wind surgery.
Trainer Sam Thomas had a good weekend and his Skytastic, a winner of four of his five races, looks the one to give West Cork most to do.
Only Lemon Ice of the seven declared for the opening Jewson Click And Collect Juvenile Hurdle has jumped hurdles in public before, having finished third to Medyaf at Stratford.
She was beaten a long way that day and, whilst improvement could be forthcoming, she could be vulnerable to one of the newcomers.
Victory, a winner over a mile on the flat at Kempton Park last November, will have been well schooled by Alan King and can make a winning debut at the expense of Charles St.
All hurdles will be run on the outer track and 13 have been declared for the Jewson Leamington Novices' Hurdle in which King could double-up with Egbert, beaten a head at Market Rasen on just his second start.
Champion jockey Brian Hughes takes the ride on Doncaster bumper winner Everyonesgame, having his second run over hurdles, and, wearing a tongue-tie for the first time, looks the danger.
There is another competitive field in the Jewson Coventry Handicap Hurdle in which Opening Bid, runner-up to Gerard Mentor here at the beginning of October, could go one better.
The winner didn't exactly advertise the form when only fourth at Exeter on his next run, but this looks a good chance for Opening Bid to win again after scoring at the meeting 12 months ago.
Reilly, a winner over hurdles at Wetherby in May, may make the most of the weight he receives from his rivals in the Happy Birthday Julian Watson Handicap Chase, although the progressive Fairlawn Flyer who is chasing a four-timer, spells danger.
Dindin won a similar race over the course in September, but has not been able to replicate that form in four races since and now lines up for his 19th start since joining David Pipe earlier this year in the British Gypsum's Fastest Finish Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase.
He finished last of seven at Exeter two weeks ago and a holiday surely beckons, with preference for another course winner Hawthorn Cottage, who will be ridden by Luca Morgan and looks well-weighted on a mark of 112.
The biggest field of the afternoon will line up for the Start Your Racing TV Free Trail Now EBF Mares' Open National Hunt Flat Race.
Southwell winner Stowaway Jess has to give weight all round and stable companion Hard As Nails and Passing Reflection, who should come on for her debut second at Uttoxeter, are two for the shortlist.