Tim Walford, who is poised to stand down as a trainer at the end of the month and hand over the reins of his North Yorkshire establishment to his son and assistant, Mark, can saddle a winner at Newcastle this afternoon.
The Sheriff Hutton handler runs Lilly’s Legend in the swarlandfence.co.uk Mares’ National Hunt Flat Race and the four-year-old is fancied to oblige at the second time of asking.
Lilly’s Legend made her debut here last month and, after being sent off favourite, was beaten only two lengths into fourth place by Starplex.
The benefit of that experience will not have been lost on Lilly’s Legend, who stayed on well in the closing stages of her first race after looking to become outpaced early in the home straight.
With Dougie Costello again in the saddle, she can provide Walford with a timely success as he approaches the final lap of his training career.
Malcolm Jefferson is going great guns at present and the Norton trainer has good prospects of adding to his ever-rising tally of winners with nap selection Magic Present in the North Sea Logistics Handicap Hurdle.
The gelding, a bumper winner, has shown a fair level of ability in three runs over hurdles and although out of his depth when third to the high-class Blakemount on this course last month, he is now running in a handicap for the first time off a handy mark of 104. He is also stepping up to three miles, which should suit him.
Cumbrian trainer Nicky Richards has done a great job this season of placing Tutchec to complete a hat-trick of wins, all achieved at his local Carlisle venue.
The gelding turns out in Newcastle’s feature race, the £10,000 Carraway Finance Handicap Chase over three miles.
With his mark having risen to 123, Tutchec faces his toughest test to date, but he is in such good form and so high in confidence, it would be no surprise to see him extend his winning sequence. Brian Harding again takes the mount.
Edmund (1.10), a course winner last month, and Blake Dean (1.40), a consistent handicapper who hails from Sue Smith’s in-form Bingley yard, are two others to consider.
At Newbury, Nicky Henderson, so often the trainer to follow at the course, looks set to figure among the winners again.
The Lambourn trainer saddles Dawalan in the opening Betfred TV Juvenile Hurdle and this smart recruit will take plenty of beating.
Dawalan scored by an impressive seven lengths at this track last month and a 7lb penalty may not stop him from achieving a repeat.
Henderson saddles two runners in the Betfred ‘Double Delight’ Novices’ Hurdle with Full Shift making more appeal than stablemate In Fairness.
Owned by JP McManus, Full Shift created a good impression when scoring on his hurdling debut at Newcastle six weeks ago. This is a tougher assignment for Tony McCoy’s mount, but the five-year-old has plenty of potential for improvement.
North Yorkshire trainer Ben Haslam has a rare Newbury runner in Diaktoros, for whom McCoy has been booked, in the Betfred Mobile National Hunt Flat Race.
The four-year-old shaped well to finish second to Lady Buttons at Wetherby last month and may be capable of going one better here.
Dark Lover (1.20), a high-class hurdler who won on his chasing debut but fell at Exeter last time out, is taken to gain compensation in the novices’ chase, while Tullyraine (2.25), a creditable second to Herdsman at Bangor, also takes the eye.
Newcastle today 12.40 Stellar Notion, 1.10 Edmund, 1.40 Blake Dean, 2.10 Sparkling Hand, 2.45 Tutchec, 3.20 Magic Present (NAP), 3.55 Lilly’s Legend.
Newbury today 12.50 Dawalan, 1.20 Dark Lover, 1.50 Full Shift, 2.25 Tullyraine, 3.00 Baby Shine, 3.35 Diaktoros, 4.10 Bold Addition.
Today’s other meetings: Newbury and Newcastle.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Ludlow, Market Rasen, Wincanton and Wolverhampton.