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North Yorkshire runner aimed at Lingfield feature race
Alfred Hutchinson, owned by Pocklington-based Reg Bond, can make his long journey tomorrow to Lingfield worthwhile by completing a hat-trick of wins in the feature race.
The five-year-old, a York winner last May for Brawby trainer Geoff Oldroyd, has since made steady progress and his last two starts, both at Wolverhampton, resulted in success.
He scored in late-December and followed up less than a week later on New Year’s Day with another convincing victory.
Alfred Hutchinson has been raised 5lb for that success and has now to prove himself at Lingfield. His target is the £19,000 Doug Grout 65th Birthday Handicap.
With Dale Swift in the saddle, Alfred Hutchinson, winner of three of his five all-weather starts, is fancied to take another step up the ladder.
Mark Johnston, another North Yorkshire trainer, can also make his presence felt at Lingfield. He runs Hamla in the Matt Grout 21st Birthday Maiden Stakes.
The daughter of Cape Cross finished a good second at Wolverhampton a week ago on her first appearance of the year and only the second of her career. She is open to further improvement and, provided this race does not come too soon for her, she ought to be a tough nut to crack.
In the Weddings At Lingfield Marriott Hotel Handicap, Toga Tiger is another horse bidding to complete hat-trick honours.
The mount of York-based Robert Winston, Jeremy Gask’s charge got 2013 off to a splendid start with a victory at Wolverhampton. He has since scored at Kempton and looks the type, off only a 2lb higher mark, to oblige again.
At Sandown today, Nicky Henderson may prove the trainer to follow, as is often the case at his local venue.
The powerful Lambourn handler is selected to score with Master Of The Game and Heronry, both mounts of Barry Geraghty.
Master Of The Game, a runner in the Reclaims UK Helping Soldiers Novices’ Hurdle, won in runaway style at Bangor in May.
He looks a useful prospect and with fitness, or lack of it, unlikely to pose him a threat, he should be hard to beat.
Heronry faces the starter in the Oxshott Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
A bumper winner on his debut, the five-year-old has since run respectably in two novice hurdles. He is now into handicap company, which should suit him much better.
Anyone who saw Relax win at Doncaster recently will surely not be in a rush to oppose him in the Alanbrooke Handicap Chase.
Trained by the in-form Venetia Williams, Relax, a giant-sized gelding, bossed his rivals from more than a mile from home at Doncaster, where he won with any amount in hand.
It is no surprise that Williams is keen to get Relax out under a 7lb penalty, rather than wait for the handicapper to reassess him. Her enterprise promises to be rewarded by Aidan Coleman’s mount.
• Dual-champion jockey Paul Hanagan claimed his first Classic win with Soft Falling Rain in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan.
The Mike de Kock-trained runner justified his price of 8-11 in this Group 3 over a mile with a smooth success.
Hanagan, formerly based in Malton with Richard Fahey, won by two and a quarter lengths.
1.20 Pistol, 1.50 Relax, 2.25 Twigline, 3.00 Gwanako, 3.30 Master Of The Game, 4.05 Heronry, 4.40 Rash Move.
Today’s other meetings: Fakenham, Lingfield and Wolverhampton.
12.40 Hillbilly Boy, 1.10 Hamla, 1.40 Firmdecisions, 2.15 Billy Red, 2.50 Danziger, 3.30 Toga Tiger, 4.00 Alfred Hutchinson, 4.35 Saoi.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton.