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The going at Catterick on Tuesday is currently described as good to soft, soft in places, and the drying conditions could go to somewhat explaining the bumper amount of runners on the card, spread over the seven races.

Although saying that, Balkotic will face only five opponents in the first at, in the 0-120 amateur jockeys handicap hurdle, over three miles and one furlong, with Mr Ryan Price, (a great racing name) having only his second ever ride in public, and his first over jumps, taking the ride. Balkotic who is currently 1lb below his last winning mark, which was over this course and distance 13 months ago, showed that he is coming back to his best, with an excellent third at Catterick, when last seen 25 days ago.

We are doubly represented at, in the juvenile hurdle, over the extended one mile and seven furlongs. Mandega who won three times when trained in France, has shown ability from marks in the mid 70's when finishing close up in four flat runs for us over the summer, but he is yet to get truly competitive in either of his two starts over hurdles, and he will once again have the assistance of Emma Smith-Chaston in the saddle.

Our other runner in the race is Expert Lady, who makes her hurdling debut, with Craig Nicol taking the ride. Expert Lady, who never raced beyond an extended seven furlongs in four runs over the summer, in her only starts to date, is out of a mare who did win at 10 furlongs, so there is hope that she will see out the trip.

Brickadank will have his sixth start over fences at, in the 0-100 novices handicap chase, over two miles and three furlongs, with Emma Smith-Chaston back on Board. Emma was last on Brickadank back in April when they went down by only a short head from a 1lb higher mark than now, so Brickadank can be competitive, although this looks quite a deep race for the grade.

Odd Venture has raced on seven occasions over hurdles, when trained in Ireland, with the best run coming at Tramore in August 2021, when he finished third. He was the winner of a classified stakes for us back in July at Musselburgh on the flat, and this will be his first start for the yard over jumps. He runs at, in the novices hurdle, over two miles and three furlongs, with the champion jockey Brian Hughes taking the ride.

Fainche will make her British, and stable debut at, in the 0-100 mares handicap hurdle, over two miles and three furlongs, with Emma Smith-Chaston taking the ride. Fainche ran one of her better races when last seen finishing fourth at Fairyhouse, but that was over 13 months ago, so she is entitled to need this first run back, after 406 days off the track.

To keep up to date with all the latest happenings at Oakwood Stables, Sharp Hill, and Curlew, click on 'NEWS' at www.mickyhammondracing.

Good luck to the connections, Raypasha, Samuel Sutton, Sharp Hill Thoroughbreds, A & S Associates, Oakwood Racing, and In 4 A Grand.


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