We send a team of four up to Carlisle where the going at the time of writing is good to soft, soft in places on the hurdles course. We also send two of our recent flat winners down to Wolverhampton for their evening meeting.
First up at 12.30.pm, at Carlisle in a two miles and one furlong novices hurdle is Bonne Vitesse who will once again be partnered by Emma Smith-Chaston whose 7lb allowance will take the horses weight down to 9 stone and 9lb. Bonne Vitesse was rated as high as 70 when trained on the flat for her previous yard, having won at Pontefract in June 2020. On her stable and hurdles debut for us at Wetherby 31 days ago she probably ran a personal best showing that she relished the new discipline. She receives the sex allowance, and the weight for age allowance as well.
Kildrum makes his British debut over fences at 1.0.pm, in the extended three miles handicap chase, with Emma Smith-Chaston taking the ride. He has been largely disappointing in his seven starts for us since arriving from Ireland in 2020, having only ran with real promise on a couple of occasions. He has finished down the field in all three starts this season, and this change to fences could be the answer as he has finished in the frame in eight of his nine Irish Point to Point starts.
Applaus has finished first, second, and third, in three of his four previous visits to Carlisle, and will take his chance at 2.10.pm, in the 0-120 handicap hurdle over two miles and one furlong, with Jack Hogan retaining the ride. Applaus ran with great promise at Southwell in December when finishing second, but probably found the race coming two quick when only finishing sixth at Wetherby 12 days later. Applaus is a horse who goes best fresh, so the 43 day break since then will be to his advantage.
Our Grade 1 winning hurdler Cornerstone Lad got off the mark over fences at the sixth attempt at Wetherby 23 days ago from a reduced mark of 140, for which the handicapper has reacted by putting him back up 5lb. Cornerstone Lad who was a 159 rated hurdler hasn't hit those heights over fences, but still shows as much enthusiasm as he ever did. He has to give weight to all his three opponents, and will probably need to run up to at least that Wetherby form to secure a victory. The race is at 3.20.pm, and is a Listed handicap chase over two miles, with Conor O'Farrell retaining the ride, as always the softer the ground, the better his chance.
We also have two runners on the flat at Wolverhampton where our recent Kempton winner Sparkle In His Eye runs in the 0-55 handicap over seven furlongs, with Aiden Brookes retaining the ride. Sparkle In His Eye was given a well judged ride by Aiden when making all at Kempton 14 days ago over one mile, from an all time low mark of 52, for which the handicapper has raised him 3lb. He remains on a good mark, and has got a good draw in stall three, but this will be his first ever start over seven furlongs, so we will find out if he has the pace on this sharp track.
Our other runner at Dunstall Park is Quoteline Direct who won at the track over the extended one mile and one furlong two weeks ago. He now steps up to 12 furlongs for a 0-50 Classified Stakes with Robert Havlin retaining the ride. Quoteline Direct definitely reserves his best for Wolverhampton these days, with his recent form figures at the track now reading '223821.' In all probability Quoteline Direct does not quite see out this trip, although he has been placed over it on five previous occasions.
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Good luck to the connections, The Golden Cuckoo, T M Clarke, Mrs Gemma Hogg, Mrs B M Lofthouse, Samuel Sutton, and JFW Properties Ltd.