Some of Nigel Twiston-Davies’s leading hopes for the season will be making the long trip up the M6 to Carlisle and perhaps the most exciting of his trio is Good Boy Bobby, who runs in division one of the 2m1f novice hurdle (2.45).
A winner of three of his four starts in bumpers last year, he is as short as 33-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.
The Gloucestershire trainer said: “He’s a very exciting young horse and we’re hoping for great things with him this year. His work has been great and we’re really keen to see what he can do.”
Al Dancer, fourth in Aintree’s Grade 2 bumper, also makes his debut over obstacles in the second division of the novice hurdle (3.15) and Luckofthedraw starts out over fences in the 2m novice handicap chase (2.10).
Twiston-Davies added: “Al Dancer is another very nice young novice and we’re hoping everything will come good for him too. He’s been schooling well.
“Luckofthedraw is very free-going. He’ll jump out and try to make all and hopefully he’ll stay there.”
King hoping to kick up a Storm with Mia’s at Uttoxeter
Alan King’s progressive mare Mia’s Storm was sent off favourite for the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase on Boxing Day but crashed out when starting to struggle on soft ground.
The eight-year-old also came down on her only subsequent run at Ayr but remains a horse with plenty of talent on the form of her dominant Listed win at Market Rasen and convincing chasing debut win over RSA third Elegant Escape.
She will carry top weight on her return to hurdling in the 2m7f handicap hurdle (3.55) at Uttoxeter and her trainer said: “She’s in good form and we’re ready to start back with her now. I thought after having two falls it would do her some good to run her over hurdles to try to boost her confidence, but I’m sure we’ll go back to fences with her later on.”
Moonball going for quickfire double
Gavin Cromwell’s four-year-old Moonball got off the mark over fences by 15 lengths at Downpatrick last week and tries to follow up in the 2m rated novice chase (3.40) at Tramore.
“She won very well at Downpatrick, which is quite similar to Tramore so the track should suit her and she did win a handicap hurdle over the course in August,” said Cromwell.
“She came out of her Downpatrick race well and the good ground will be a plus.”
Moonball faces five rivals including the Gordon Elliott-trained Monatomic and the Anthony Black-trained Teqany, both of whom have won over hurdles at the track.
Elliott mare back up to handicaps
Thisonesforollie is another for whom the undulating Tramore track should not present any problems.
Gordon Elliott’s daughter of Scorpion won a maiden hurdle at Downpatrick by a neck over 2m5½f on her most recent start and tackles the same trip in the handicap hurdle (2.35).
Elliott said: “Thisonesforollie came out of her Downpatrick race well and seems in good form, but it was quite a low-grade race she won and we’ll have to see how she gets on back in a handicap.”
Her rivals include Ballyfinboy, who reverts to hurdles for the first time in two years having landed a handicap chase by seven lengths over the course last week.
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