Tim Easterby will be hoping more than most that today’s Catterick meeting survives an 8am inspection and racing is given the go-ahead.
The Great Habton trainer is aiming to turn back the clock with Lease Lend, who bids to win the featured Weatherbys Bank Handicap Chase, just as he did in 2010.
The popular North Yorkshire gelding, who missed the whole of last season, has returned to action this term in good heart.
He has finished in the money in all his six starts at his beloved Wetherby, including a narrow defeat by Dunowen Point two outings ago.
Third to the progressive Cloudy Too in his latest race, Lease Lend is running consistently well and is overdue a winning turn.
He faces one or two tough rivals today, most notably Brave Spartacus, who has won his last three completed starts on this course.
However, Keith Reveley’s charge has soared up the ratings from 87 to 130 and has been raised a hefty 18lb since his last victory.
It will take a career-best performance from Brave Spartacus to score again, and it may be that he has to give best to Lease Lend in a race he knows how to win. Dougie Costello rides.
Whatever the fate of Brave Spartacus, Reveley could still be on the mark with Vinetta in the Yorkshire-Outdoors.co.uk Handicap Hurdle.
Colm McCormack’s mount shaped well to finish second to stablemate and easy winner Special Catch – a useful horse – here last time out in a novices’ hurdle. Now into handicap company, Vinetta will be much more at home.
Nap selection Abbey Storm looks the best proposition in the opening racinguk.com Novices’ Hurdle.
The ex-Irish point-to-pointer looked a nice prospect when storming home to a decisive success at Musselburgh last month. He can continue to climb the hurdling ladder before his attentions are turned to chasing by trainer Donald McCain.
Sue Smith has her horses in good form and the Bingley trainer can score with Alba King in the Cheltenham Preview Evening March 1st Handicap Hurdle.
The progressive gelding won at Sedgefield, narrowly from Tinseltown, at the end of May, which was his third success in four starts. This is his first outing for more than than eight months, but Smith’s horses seldom fail through lack of fitness.
At Southwell tomorrow, Rano Pano is napped to win the coral.co.uk Handicap for Norton trainer Brian Ellison.
A hurdles winner, the four-year-old scored on the Flat at Wolverhampton six weeks ago and has since run creditably on the same course in a ‘jumpers’ bumper’ behind Doc’s Legacy. He should go well off a good mark in this low-grade affair.
Alan Brown has his string in good heart and Red Shadow is entitled to go well in the opening Best Racing Odds Guaranteed At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap.
The four-year-old ran a creditable race to finish second on this course last week and takes on similar rivals again. Tom Eaves rides.
Makinson Lane (2.10) has shown enough to suggest a small race should come his way, while Apache Rising (4.20) was a winner at this venue on his last appearance three months ago.
2.05 Abbey Storm (NAP), 2.40 Alba King, 3.10 Rapidolyte De Ladalka, 3.40 Vinetta, 4.10 Lease Lend, 4.40 Legacy Gold.
Precautionary inspection 8am.
Today’s other meetings: Plumpton and Wolverhampton.
1.40 Red Shadow, 2.10 Makinson Lane, 2.45 Frequency, 3.15 Kickingthelilly, 3.50 Tartan Jura, 4.20 Apache Rising, 4.50 Rano Pano (NAP).
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Ayr and Lingfield.