Matt and Lauren Morgan saw their colours famously carried to success at York in 2012 when Blaine, trained in North Yorkshire by Kevin Ryan, won the historic Gimcrack Stakes – and they will be hoping for a similar outcome with one of their jumpers at Doncaster this afternoon.
The owners, who hit the jackpot on Town Moor last September when the Ryan-trained Morning Post landed a long-priced success in a valuable sales race, are represented by Sign Of A Victory in the Betdaq Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Hurdle.
Trained at Lambourn by Nicky Henderson, Sign Of A Victory is developing into a useful horse.
He is already twice a winner this season, his latest success coming in a jumpers’ bumper at Kempton.
He had previously won at Ludlow over hurdles before a creditable fourth-placed effort behind Wilde Blue Yonder at Newbury.
This looks a good opportunity for nap selection Sign Of A Victory to hit the mark again – and provide the Morgans with another winner in Yorkshire.
Henderson can also win the Betdaq Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle with Free Thinking.
The mount of Sam Waley-Cohen, the dual bumper winner opened her account over hurdles at Ludlow before coming up short in Listed company at Newbury last time. This looks an easier option for her.
Peter Atkinson, who trains only a handful of horses from his farm at Yafforth near Northallerton, has a smart inmate in Croco Bay, who is fancied to take the beating in the Betdaq Novices’ Chase.
A fluent winner at Catterick over Christmas, Croco Bay was beaten only a whisker on his latest start at Kelso. He continues to progress.
Malcolm Jefferson steps King Of The Wolds slightly up in trip in the Betdaq Handicap Chase in the hope of seeing his strapping gelding return to top form.
He looked a useful chaser in the making earlier in the season when winning at Sedgefield and Fakenham, but he has since been easily defeated at Wetherby and on this course. This drier ground should suit him.
Whatever Nicky Henderson’s fate at Doncaster, the Seven Barrows trainer should figure among the winners at his local Newbury course.
Big Hands Harry gives Henderson a good chance of lifting the Physicool Novices’ Hurdle.
The five-year-old, a winner on his only start in a point-to-point, underlined his potential when finishing second to smart stable-mate Royal Boy at Ascot on his hurdles debut. He can go one better.
No Pushover could be another for Henderson in the Rickety Bridge Mares’ National Hunt Flat Race. The five-year-old has been placed in her two outings at Towcester and looks capable of progression.
The Agetur UK Novices’ Handicap Chase is the feature race on the card and Fergal O’Brien has a sound chance with Perfect Candidate.
The seven-year-old ran a respectable fourth to the useful Victor Hewgo on his chasing bow at Doncaster. He is now into a handicap off a mark of 119, which appeals as a workable rating. Paddy Brennan rides.
2.10 Ivans Back, 2.40 Free Thinking, 3.10 Sign Of A Victory (NAP), 3.45 Croco Bay, 4.20 Brijomi Queen, 4.55 King Of The Wolds, 5.25 Short Takes.
1.45 Ninepointsixthree, 2.20 Big Hands Harry, 2.50 Sir Valentino, 3.25 Perfect Candidate, 4.00 Hawaii Five Nil, 4.35 Bincombe, 5.10 No Pushover.
Today’s other meetings: Lingfield and Wolverhampton.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Doncaster, Kelso, Lingfield and Newbury.