After an opportunistic detour to Ascot, Magic Of Light heads to Huntingdon aiming to put the cake underneath the impressive cherry picked up last weekend.
Magic Of Light was only entered to run in the Grade 2 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot after jockey Robbie Power had spotted the race had reopened. With trainer Jessica Harrington planning to make the journey across to Britain anyway for this Huntingdon contest, the decision was taken to line up on Saturday and the eight-year-old duly romped to victory as the 15-8 favourite.
That success followed an easy win over fences at Newbury the time before and a bold performance at Huntingdon is likely to lead to Magic Of Light heading for the Boylesports Irish Grand National in the spring.
Harrington said: “She came out of her Ascot win on Saturday well and stayed in England after at Paul Webber’s. The trip and the ground will suit and, hopefully, she’ll keep her winning run going.”
Synopsis has also made the long journey from Ireland to Huntingdon having turned in an improved performance to land a 2m4½f handicap chase at Cheltenham last month by ten lengths.
Her trainer Gordon Elliott has had two winners from his three runners at Huntingdon during his career, and said: “She’s in good form but she has a bit to find on ratings and we’re just hoping she runs well.”
Like Magic Of Light, Happy Diva, who was second in this race last year, was in action at Ascot on Saturday when she produced another consistent effort to finish third to Cyrname having chased home Aso on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham the time before.
Trainer Kerry Lee said: “She ran very well at the weekend and she seems in good form at home since that run, so we’re having a go. It looks a very competitive race but it’s the last mares’ race over two and a half miles for the foreseeable future.”
The competitive nature of the race was highlighted by trainer Neil King, whose Marienstar is seeking to complete a four-timer under jockey Bryony Frost.
“She’s had a nice break and freshened up and it’s been the plan to come here for a long time.” King said. “She’s done nothing wrong this year and deserves to take her chances. It’d be great to pick up black type with her.”
Will course form prove crucial?
Tom Lacey is two-handed in the first running of the Listed Sky Bet Top Price Promise Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (2.30) at Doncaster with recent course first and third Via Delle Volte and Lady Cylla.
The former, who finished runner up in a 1m4f maiden at Pontefract on the Flat, had her stablemate a length and three quarters in arrears when justifying 9-4 favouritism that day.
Via Delle Volte jumped the better of the pair that day but they may be closer this time around as both have thrived and schooled well at home since that assignment last month.
Lacey said: “Lady Cylla was let down by her jumping at Doncaster last time and if she picks her feet up there may not be that much between them although both need to step up. Via Delle Volte needs a strong run race to be seen at her best but both fillies go there in good shape.”
Dragon roars back into action over jumps
Classy Flat performer Scarlet Dragon is back in action over jumps for King at Huntingdon in the opening Pertemps Network Commercial Novices’ Hurdle (1.00), a race won two years ago by none other than subsequent dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air.
Although not quite up to that level, the six-year-old did finish second in a Grade 2 contest at Kempton on the first of two outings over obstacles last year.
Rated 104 on the level, Scarlet Dragon will be a short price to see off his 13 rivals and trainer Alan King said: “He has been running extremely well on the all-weather this winter and we are excited about running him back over hurdles.
This sharp, right-handed track should suit him. He was second in the Dovecote at Kempton last season and was probably past his best at Aintree, where the ground was against him.”
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