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Newbury’s cracking novices’ hurdle, a well-bred newcomer at Ludlow, veteran sprinter at Newcastle and John Gosden’s Lingfield fillies all come under the spotlight as Matt Brocklebank looks ahead to Wednesday’s racing.

1. Cozi victory first time up?

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It’s not necessarily crunch-time for any two-year-old filly, but with the New Year coming onto the horizon it’s obviously an important time if owners and breeders are looking to get that all-important 1 onto the book with the future in mind.

John Gosden is not one to miss a trick and it looks highly significant that he saddles seven young fillies across the three available races at Lingfield this afternoon.

Maximum Effect and Fanfaronade represent the team in division one of the EBF Ladbrokes Fillies’ Novice Stakes (12.10), while Beehaar and Cozi Bay bid to get off the mark in the second division before Entitle, Royal Family and Vegatina all go in the EBF Ladbrokes Home Of the Odds Boost Novice Stakes.

They all look the part on paper and they’re all running for big-spending, loyal owners to the Gosden team, but only one wears blinkers and as such the eye is drawn to newcomer Cozi Bay.

Having given Gosden the green light to fit Cracksman with blinkers for the Champion Stakes, owner Anthony Oppenheimer won’t be too worried about the headgear being utilised on this daughter of Kingman, who is closely related to Zebedee and Auntinet, who both won as juveniles.

Cozi Bay has a wide draw in stall nine and concedes experience to the likes of Wallaa, Diamond Oasis and stablemate Beehaar, but otherwise there appears to be a lot in her favour as she looks to significantly enhance her own breeding prospects at the very first time of asking.

Frankie Dettori and Cracksman on their way to more Champion Stakes success

Cracksman wins the Champion Stakes in blinkers

2. La La land

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The Trull House Stud breeding operation may be no more but Richard Kelvin-Hughes and co. still have a huge amount to look forward to on the track, principally this season with RSA Chase favourite Santini.

He’ll face an interesting test against the likes of La Bague Au Roi and Topofthegame at Kempton on Boxing Day, all being well, but before then a new journey begins for Trull La La in Ludlow’s G C Rickards Ltd EBF Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle – a qualifier for the Mares NH Novice Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson and Kelvin-Hughes had a lot of fun with the filly’s dam, Chomba Womba, who won five times for them including Grade Twos at Doncaster, Wincanton and Ascot.

Chocca Wocca, also trained by Henderson, has been the pick of her progeny so far and Trull La La – by top jumps sire Flemensfirth – starts out in a fascinating little race which has produced Chilli Filli, Tara View, Rene’s Girl, Tara Mist, Kayfleur and Mickie in recent season.

Four of that sextet were trained by Henry Daly, so while Trull La La may be the first to catch the eye, it’s also well worth keeping a note of Daly’s sole representative today, namely the twice-raced Saga Succes.

Trull La La's dam Chomba Womba in action

Trull La La’s dam Chomba Womba in action

3. Em people (Non Runner*)

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For all that Style De Vole could enhance his Triumph Hurdle claims in the opening juvenile event, the Qolcom EBF Stallions “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle is clearly the most interesting race at Newbury.

Henderson saddles two fascinating newcomers to the jumps game in Downtown Getaway and Beyondthestorm. The latter made £150,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham December Sales 12 months ago after making a successful point-to-point debut.

Downtown Getaway won a Fairyhouse bumper by 12 lengths at Fairyhouse last December and, at the very same sale on the very same day, changed hands for a whopping £350,000.

They are entitled to be above-average, and they may need to be.

Those with experience include Chris Gordon’s Commanche Red, who looked like he wanted to go left-handed when hanging at Ascot; Samarquand, who travelled like the wrath of God before weakening to be a well held but creditable third at Exeter; plus Philip Hobbs’ impressive Kempton winner Tidal Flow.

And then there’s Emitom, the horse who occupies Cole Harden’s box at Warren Greatrex’s Uplands stables. He’s unbeaten with two bumpers and a Ffos Las maiden hurdle victory under the belt.

Lisnagar Oscar, who couldn’t get Emitom off the bridle at Ffos Las, ultimately trailing in second, gave the form some substance when finishing second to Rockpoint at Cheltenham last week, so we’re clearly dealing with a horse of significant potential.

Above-average? The Henderson horses may just have to be something special.

*Emitom was declared at non-runner at 1711 GMT Tuesday due to a bad scope.

Warren Greatrex-trained Emitom

Warren Greatrex-trained Emitom

4. Duke looking dangerous

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Admittedly, I’m going to be in a very small minority when it comes classing Duke Cosimo’s return to action after 70 days as ‘eagerly-awaited’, but that’s not to admit that I’m wrong.

He only won once last winter but just looked like a horse who had really discovered himself when scoring at Kempton when last sighted on October 10, and a 2lb rise for that ultimately comfortable head victory could prove lenient.

There’s no real suggestion that he’s going to start scaling the heights he once did for David Barron but, given he was rated mid-80s in his prime, there’s surely still a little wriggle room from his current perch of 62.

The Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap (6.45) at Newcastle is a good starting point for the son of Pivotal, who looks one to keep track of over the next few weeks, in spite of his advancing years.

Duke Cosimo wins the 2014 Silver Cup

Duke Cosimo wins the 2014 Silver Cup in his youth


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