North Yorkshire apprentice Jason Hart, who recently returned to Declan Carroll’s Sledmere yard after a work-riding stint in America, can post his first winner of 2013 at Southwell tomorrow.
Hart, who rattled up 18 successes last season, has secured the plum mount on Our Ivor, who bids to complete a four-timer in the bookmakers.co.uk Apprentice Handicap.
Trained close to the course by Michael Appleby, whose horses have been in terrific form lately, Our Ivor has proved unbeatable at this venue since the turn of the year.
He has run up a hat-trick in impressive style, his most recent success coming by eight lengths last week.
A 6lb penalty is unlikely to halt the progress of Our Ivor tomorrow and the four-year-old is fancied to provide the talented Hart with the first of surely many winners this year.
Appleby can also win the bookmakers.co.uk Handicap with The Lock Master.
The six-year-old did well to win under a good ride from Shirley Teasdale on this course a fortnight ago over a mile, which would be an absolute minimum distance for him.
He will be much more at home over tomorrow’s mile and a half and a 3lb rating rise is not expected to inconvenience him.
Thirsk trainer David Barron is responsible for tomorrow’s nap selection, Antonio Gramsci, in the coral.co.uk Maiden Stakes over five furlongs.
Antonio Gramsci made only one juvenile appearance last year and was backed down to 11-8 favourite at Ripon in June. Alas, he went down by a head to Rat Catcher and never raced again.
Now he’s back, and he’s in a pretty soft looking race. Antonio Gramsci is plainly not a horse to underestimate. Graham Gibbons has the mount.
In the opening bookmakers.co.uk Handicap, Kabbaas promises to be hard to beat.
Trained at Newmarket by Roger Varian, the three-year-old finished second at Lingfield on his debut and followed up with a long odds-on win on this course by no less than 20 lengths.
The handicapper has put him in his first handicap off a mark of 75. He’s a difficult horse to get a proper handle on, but that rating may well have underestimated him.
John Quinn, who is putting the finishing touches to his Cheltenham Festival team, spearheaded by Champion Hurdle hope Countrywide Flame and Triumph Hurdle contenders Kashmir Peak and Hidden Justice, is also ticking over his Flat team.
Nant Saeson represents the Norton trainer in the coral.co.uk Handicap and is interestingly dropped back to six furlongs for the first time.
Previously a winner at Wolverhampton over seven furlongs, he has run well over the same trip distance since.
He can also take a hand here, provided the shorter distance does not catch him out. Mick O’Connell has the ride.
At Bangor today, Sue Smith has double prospects with a pair of in-form horses.
Herdsman, twice a winner at Wetherby in recent weeks, aims for a hat-trick in the Weatherbys Bank Handicap Hurdle. It would take a brave person to suggest it is a task beyond him.
Coverholder has been a revelation since he joined Smith’s Bingley stable a couple of months ago.
Bought out of a selling hurdle at Catterick for 6,000 guineas, he has since won handicaps at Doncaster, Kelso and Wetherby.
The Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Handicap Hurdle offers him another winning opportunity.
Jonathan England again takes the mount.
2.20 Ciceron, 2.50 Cevaro, 3.20 Herdsman, 3.50 Milo Milan, 4.20 Coverholder, 4.50 Tara Rose, 5.20 Weigh It Up.
Today’s other meetings: Kempton, Lingfield and Wincanton.
2.20 Kabbaas, 2.50 Hillbilly Boy, 3.20 La Sylphe, 3.50 Antonio Gramsci (NAP), 4.20 The Lock Master, 4.50 Nant Saeson, 5.20 Our Ivor.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Kempotn, Ludlow and Taunton.