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BOXING DAY PREVIEW - 10 RUNNERS AT THREE MEETINGS.

We have four runners at Wetherby, where the going at the time of writing is soft, good to soft in places. We also have a further four runners at Sedgefield, where the going is also currently considered to be soft, good to soft in places, and we send two down to Market Rasen, where the ground is currently good to soft.



At Wetherby, Great Ballinboris returns from just over a year off the track, having had wind surgery, when he goes to post for the 0-100 novices handicap chase, over two miles and three furlongs, at 12.27.pm, with Sean Quinlan booked to ride. Great Ballinboris has so far finished down the field in a bumper, a maiden hurdle, and two novice hurdles, for which he has been given a fair looking opening rating of 94, and if he takes to fences, then that is an attractive opening mark.



Foster'sisland who rarely runs a below par race, is next up at 2.10.pm, in the 0-130 handicap hurdle, over two miles and five furlongs, with Jack Hogan on board for the first time. Foster'sisland made his seasonal debut at Carlisle 51 days ago, and that race will have put him straight for this, a race in which he was beaten a head in last season, from a 4lb lower mark.



Our stable star Cornerstone Lad runs at 2.45.pm, in the 0-140 handicap chase, over two miles and three furlongs, with Sean Quinlan riding him for the first time. Since finishing second on his seasonal return at Wetherby 38 days ago, Cornerstone Lad has been dropped a further 2lb to 125, which is his lowest rating since January 2018. At very nearly 10 years old, he isn't the force of old, but he always gives his everything.



Coup De Coeur ran too freely at Wetherby on his stable debut back in October, when eventually falling three out. He improved to finish third at Sedgefield in November, and left that form behind when winning comfortably at Sedgefield again 19 days later. On that last run his opening handicap mark of 108 looks very reasonable for a progressive looking type. Coup De Coeur runs at 3.20.pm, in the 0-115 handicap hurdle over two miles, with Jamie Hamilton in the saddle for the first time.



At Sedgefield, Halpha Soleil goes to post for their first race at 12.15.pm, in the 0-100 handicap hurdle, over the extended two miles and three furlongs, where he will be partnered by Emma Smith-Chaston for the first time. Halpha Soleil who ran well on his seasonal debut 13 days ago at Hexham to finish fourth, does look very attractively weighted from a handicap mark of 95, on the best of his best French form from 2022.



Contre Ordre was a course and distance winner four weeks ago from a 4lb lower mark than now, and that form has since taken a boost, with the runner up that day winning at Newcastle on Saturday. Contre Ordre has now run well on both of his starts this season, and he should once again be involved. He runs at 12.50.pm, in the 0-100 handicap chase, over two miles and one furlong, with Emma Smith-Chaston retaining the ride.



Polisud had some very good form over hurdles and fences when trained in France, but has since lost his way, having pulled up on all three starts for us over hurdles since arriving at the yard around a year ago. He has become a very well handicapped horse because of this, and at only seven years old it is too early to write him off. Polisud runs at 2.00.pm, in the 0-120 handicap hurdle, over the extended two miles and three furlongs, with Emma Smith-Chaston on board for the first time.



Duo D'Enfer who has done the majority of his racing around two and a half miles, ran with credit when stepped up to three miles for the first time at Wetherby 27 days ago. That run signified that Duo D'Enfer is in form, and he shouldn't be troubled by this step back down in trip from a 1lb lower mark. He runs at 2.23.pm, in the 0-115 handicap chase, over two miles and three furlongs, with Emma Smith-Chaston once again taking the mount.



It's a case of deja vous at Market Rasen, with both representatives having also run at that track on Boxing Day last year. Le Grand Vert ran well to be third on his chase debut at Newcastle in March, and on his seasonal return at Wetherby in November he ran better than his seventh of nine would suggest, having made a mistake three out, and then tiring after being off the track for nine months. Le Grand Vert is now on a all time career low mark of 89, when he runs in the 0-100 handicap chase at 1.15.pm, over the extended two miles and seven furlongs, with Richie McLernon on board for the first time.



Geryville was beaten one and a quarter lengths in the corresponding 0-130 'Lincolnshire National Handicap Chase' last season, from 2lb lower than now, and he will once again relish every yard of this extended three miles and three furlongs at 2.57.pm, where he will be partnered by Richie McLernon for the first time. Geryville made a pleasing return to the track at Sedgefield nearly 10 weeks ago when finishing fourth, and he should once again make a bold bid.



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, John Burnett, The Oakwood Nobels, Mrs B M Lofthouse, T I S Partnership, Newroc & Co, The Cheltenham Trail, Samuel Sutton, and Richard Howard & Ben Howard.



Geryville.


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