It's a busy day on Thursday, with seven going up to Newcastle, where the ground is currently heavy, and one making his way down to Leicester, where it is also heavy.
We will be doubly represented in the first at 1.40.pm, in the mares only maiden hurdle, over the extended two miles. Lillistar had seven runs on the flat for her previous yard, with the pick being a close second at Leicester over 10 furlongs, from a mark of 57 last June. She was fifth on her stable debut for us over hurdles at Wetherby three weeks ago, and she should build on that now, with Emma Smith-Chaston in the saddle.
Touch Of A Dragon is our other representative in the race. She ran in three bumpers last season, and showed great promise in the two she completed in, which would see her in the thick of it here. She made her hurdles debut last October at Sedgefield, when proving too keen to do herself justice, and she should be seen in a better light here. Touch Of A Dragon will be ridden by Connor O'Farrell for the first time.
We are also doubly represented at 3.25.pm, in the 0-105 handicap chase over two miles. Contre Ordre backed up a promising seasonal debut at Sedgefield in November, when coming good later that same month at the same track. His latest two starts have not seen him match that form, but he remains on a mark that makes him a danger to all. He will have the assistance of Emma Smith-Chaston in the saddle.
Master Breffni is our other runner in the race, and he will be ridden by Conor O'Farrell, who was also on board when the partnership finished fourth to his stablemate Onenightointown at Catterick 13 days ago. Master Breffni is a lightly raced six year old, who was making only his second start over fences that day, and he looks to be at the right end of the handicap.
Once again we will be doubly represented, this time at 4.0.pm, in the 0-110 handicap hurdle, over the extended two miles. Polisud who will be ridden by Emma Smith-Chaston, has seen his mark fall from an opening 116, when arriving from France last October, to his current mark of 94, after just five starts for us. He ran his best race for us at Catterick five weeks ago when finishing sixth, and he has since had wind surgery.
Monty Nevett who makes his stable debut, is our other runner in the race. In three bumpers, and four hurdle races for his previous yard, Monty Nevett's stand out piece of form came over this course and distance last May, when finishing third in novice hurdle company. His two subsequent runs didn't live up to that expectation, and once again he will have the services of Henry Brooke, who was on board that day when he was third.
Bonne Vitesse has been frustrating in two runs over hurdles since finishing an excellent runner up on the flat at Pontefract last October. On her day Bon Vitesse can be very good, and her current mark of 100 looks tasty. This trip of two and a half miles looks about right, although heavy ground isn't necessarily a plus. She runs at 4.35.pm, in the 0-110 handicap hurdle, with Emma Smith-Chaston taking the ride.
Brickadank is our one representative at Leicester, when he goes to post for the 0-100 novices handicap chase at 3.17.pm, over two miles and four furlongs, with Robert Dunne, who has ridden him on one previous occasion, taking the ride. Brickadank ran one of his better races at Newcastle 16 days ago, when keeping on into fourth from a 3lb lower mark than now, he has also come as close to winning as he ever has, when beaten only a short head over fences from a 3lb higher mark than now last April.
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 Sidebottom & Mrs Kate Sidebottom, The Oakwood Nobels, Newroc & Co, Phil Ellerby, D Pollitt & Partners, The Cheltenham Trail, K Jardine R Griffiths D Boyce, The Golden Cuckoo, and A & S Associates.