We send nine runners up to Carlisle on Saturday where the going at the time of writing is good to soft, and soft in places on the chase course. The weather forecast is for a mostly sunny day.
We have two runners in the first race at 1.38.pm, a 0-105 conditional jockeys handicap hurdle over two miles and one furlong. Shaws Bridge is a recent recruit, who makes his stable debut, he is a very well related horse, as one of his half brothers is the classy chaser Windsor Avenue. He starts out for us from a very attractive mark of 99, which on what he has shown over hurdles to date doesn't look generous, but judged on his Irish bumper form, and his recent second in a Newcastle jumpers bumper, he is very well weighted, Billy Garritty takes the ride.
We also run Brickadank who has his second handicap start, he was ridden by the champion jockey Brian Hughes at Newcastle last time, and was there until three out, but found little under pressure. It is still early days for him, with the handicapper dropping him 4lb, which will do no harm, jockey Joe Williamson has his first ride for the yard.
In the second race at 2.13.pm, a 0-105 novices handicap chase over a distance of just short of two miles and five furlongs Onenightintown has his first run over fences for us. When trained in Ireland he ran in two points, and seven chases without getting competitive, and since joining us he has raced in five hurdle races, offering a glimmer of hope last time when finishing fifth, beaten by 18 lengths. He will have to pull out a little more in order to get involved, with Alain Cawley retaining the ride.
The veteran Justforjames runs in the 3.58.pm, a 0-125 handicap chase over three miles and one furlong. He has run three times at Catterick so far this season, running with promise to finish third on his seasonal debut, but his last two starts haven't been up to that standard. The handicapper has begun to relent, and he can now run from a mark of 112, which is 4lb below his last winning mark, Becky Smith will take the ride.
Kayf Adventure appears to be running into form following wind surgery last November, he will carry top weight in the 0-120 handicap chase over his optimum trip of two and a half miles at 4.33.pm, with Billy Garritty in the saddle. He ran his best race for us over this course and distance 13 days ago, keeping on gamely to finish third, beaten by three and a half lengths, he can now race from a 2lb lower mark, but he wouldn't want the ground to dry out anymore.
Artic Quest runs in the 0-100 novices handicap hurdle at 5.05.pm, over two miles and three furlongs, with the current champion jockey Brian Hughes in the saddle. He arrived from Ireland last summer, having shown very little in 16 starts, but pleasantly surprised us with a solid second at Cartmel on his stable debut. His next two runs which were both at Hexham in October were disappointing, but over this course and distance 23 days ago he finished forth, beaten by six lengths, he can now race from a 2lb lower mark, and he wont have to improve too much to get involved.
We have three runners in the finale at 5.40.pm, a Amateur riders 0-110 handicap hurdle over two miles and three furlongs. Onlyfoolsownhorses has had a stop and start career through injury, and has struggled to find his form since returning from a year out, last September.In his heyday he racked up a three timer in 2017, and climbed to a rating of 115, his mark is now down to 97, so any rekindling of his old form would see him competitive, James Waggott will take the ride.
We also run Excalibur who is yet to recapture his best form this season in three attempts. He wouldn't want the ground to dry out anymore, but this trip of a stiff two miles and three furlongs is his optimum, Mr Daniel Cherriman who takes the mount, is having his first ride for the stable.
Our third representative in the race is the in form Foster'sisland, who took advantage of a very good handicap mark in February, he duly followed up five days later at Newcastle, but found the 11lb rise in the weights just too much when finishing third at Carlisle 13 days ago, but he was keeping on all the way to the line.There is every chance that this step up in trip by two furlongs could bring about further improvement, from the same mark as last time, with Becky Smith taking the ride.
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Good luck to the connections, Graeme Newton, A & S Associates, M H O G, J4J Partnership, Cheltenham Trail & Cleeve Racing Club, Ian Barran & Oakwood, The Cheltenham Trail & Proform Racing, and The Oakwood Nobels.