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Norton trainer Brian Ellison can underline good form at Doncaster
NORTON trainer Brian Ellison and his number one jockey Danny Cook, eagerly looking foward to the Cheltenham Festival the week after next, can gain further confirmation at Doncaster today that they are heading to Gloucestershire with all guns blazing.
Recent results suggest that the Ellison string is in excellent heart and a win for Phase Shift in the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Mares’ Handicap Hurdle would hammer home the point.
Cook, who has been booting home plenty of winners this winter, and who was on the mark at Catterick earlier in the week, takes the mount on Phase Shift, just as he will at Cheltenham on the likes of dual-winner Viva Colonia in the Grand Annual Chase, recent Kelso scorer Totalize in the Fred Winter Novices’ Handicap Hurdle and the runaway Carlisle winner Yesyoucan in his chosen handicap hurdle assignment.
Phase Shift may not be in the same league as that trio of stablemates, but she was narrowly beaten at Sedgefield last week and, if none the worse for her exertions, can go one better for Ellison and Cook, who are in the midst of an exciting period.
Malcolm Jefferson, who is keen on the chances of his Cape Tribulation in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, can also figure on the Doncaster scoreboard.
The Newstead trainer saddles Quite The Man in the 32Red.com Handicap Chase and Harry Haynes’ mount is expected to go well.
Quite The Man, a four-time winner, shaped with promise to finish fourth at Catterick four weeks ago, which was his first race since just before Christmas. That outing should have put him spot-on for this race and he can make the most of his light weight.
John Quinn, yet another North Yorkshire trainer with eyes firmly on Cheltenham, is set to saddle one of his Festival entries in the 32Red Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Hurdle.
Cockney Sparrow, who has the option of going for the Fred Winter, is set to line-up under Dean Pratt. A course winner two starts back, Cockney Sparrow was beaten at odds-on at Catterick next time, but Quinn felt, in hindsight, that he ran her too quickly on that occasion. A win this afternoon would earn her a penalty for Cheltenham, which would boost her participation in the handicap field.
Keith Reveley’s Broctune Papa Gio (2.10), dropped into handicap company for the first time and well weighted, and the useful Call Me A Star (3.20) are two others to note on the Town Moor programme.
At Lingfield tomorrow, Athaakeel is napped to win the Brolley Handicap.
The seven-year-old, trained by Ron Harris, did well to finish second from a wide draw after meeting trouble in running at Wolverhampton last weekend. He has been in good form lately and is also a previous winner over this course and distance. The useful looking apprentice Gary Phillips has the mount.
Trainer Derek Shaw is adamant that Joe Fanning gets on with Chateau Lola better than any other jockey. Shaw has managed to book Fanning, who won on the filly at Wolverhampton last week and indeed is the only rider to have scored on her, for the Lingfield Park Owners’ Group Handicap. The hint should be taken.
Also worthy of consideration are Proper Charlie (1.40), who is dropped to selling company after running well in handicaps and claimers lately, and the hat-trick seeking Gabrial The Duke (5.10).
• Tomorrow’s Doncaster meeting will be previewed, with declared runners and riders, in tomorrow’s paper.
2.10 Broctune Papa Gio, 2.45 Ballybriggan, 3.20 Call Me A Star, 3.50 Quite The Man, 4.25 Cockney Sparrow, 5.00 White Diamond, 5.30 Phase Shift.
Today’s other meetings: Newbury and Wolverhampton.
1.40 Proper Charlie, 2.15 Chateau Lola, 2.50 Athaakeel (NAP), 3.25 Lady Guinevere, 4.00 Kickingthelilly, 4.35 Bramshill Lass, 5.10 Gabrial The Duke.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Kelso, Doncaster and Newbury.