We send two to Southwell where the going is soft, good to soft in places, and there is more rain expected.We also send two to Carlisle where stamina will be at a premium on the forecast heavy ground, and they too are expecting rain.
Our first runner is Hey Blondie in the 12.0.pm, a two miles and one furlong novice hurdle.To date he has raced in a bumper, and two novice hurdles, but he has failed to get competitive, with this being his third hurdles start he should be eligible for handicaps after this. Joe Colliver who has ridden him on all occasions to date is once again in the saddle.
Later on at Carlisle in the 1.35.pm the ex French Eragone makes his stable, and British debut in the extended two and a half miles 0-140 handicap chase, with Becky Smith easing his burden by 3lb. Eragone has raced on 20 occasions to date all at France's premier tracks, racing 14 times over hurdles, and winning three of them, and running in six chases, and winning one of those.His last run at the start of October was in a claiming hurdle at Auteuil, where in first time blinkers he was a clear cut winner by a comfortable 12 lengths. Unfortunately the handicapper has seen fit to take no chances, giving him a very stiff looking opening mark of 136.
Over at Southwell Late Date is first up in the 12.20.pm, the extended three miles and one furlong handicap chase, with Alain Cawley back in the saddle, having missed his last two runs through injury. Late Date's season got off in fine style when finishing fourth at Perth in September, when in need of the run, and as a result was sent off favourite at Sedgefield in November, but put in a rare bad run at the track, weakening quickly from two out, and eventually pulling up. He has had a near six week break in order to get over that race, and if back to his best from a mark of 100, should give a good account, on this his first visit to Southwell.
Alain Cawley will also be on board hurdles debutante Brickadank in the maiden, over the extended one mile and seven furlongs at 1.55.pm.He was a respectable fourth on debut almost exactly one year ago in a bumper at Newcastle, and has since run in three quality maidens on the flat over various distances, without getting competitive. Although he has a flat pedigree, his half sister Elegant Lass is a two time hurdles winner.
For a list of all the 87 horses currently in training at Oakwood Stables, and Sharp Hill, go to www.mickyhammondracing.
Good luck to the connections, Newroc & Co, Samuel Sutton, County Set Six & Partner, and A & S Associates.