We will be responsible for eight of the 58 declared runners at Hexham on Monday, where the ground is currently good, good to soft in places, and it should continue to dry out.
First up at 1.0.pm, is Applaus in the 0-120 handicap hurdle over two miles with Jack Hogan who has finished runner up on him twice before in the saddle. The track, trip and going, are all in his favour, he also runs off a very competitive mark, and the months break since his last start is fine, as he goes best when fresh. He could only manage a seventh place finish last time, and he will have to hurdle with more enthusiasm this time if he wants to be competitive.
We are doubly represented at 1.30.pm, in the 0-120 handicap chase over two miles and four furlongs. Bandit D'Ainay had won four chases in France before joining us last autumn. At 11 years old he showed that he was no back number, when after two down the field runs, he finished fourth to his stablemate Knocknamona in January, but back down in trip on his last two starts he has failed to get competitive. He probably wont want the ground to dry out as all of his best form is on a softer surface.
We also run Trevelyn's Corn in the same event. At nine years old this will be only his ninth appearance under rules, as he has missed big chunks of his career with injury. This will be his fifth start for us, which has seen him make progress with each run, and also seen his mark drop by 13lb. If he is to take this then he will have to take another step forward under Alain Cawley who retains the ride.
Le Grand Vert is next up at 2.40.pm, in Division 1 of the 0-105 handicap hurdle over two miles and four furlongs with Alain Cawley retaining the ride.This ex French gelding was placed in three of his six chases in France, and has won and placed a further twice over hurdles. He has raced twice for us to date, showing more at Sedgefield last time than he did on his stable debut at Newcastle. His mark has dropped by 10lb for those two runs, but he will have to significantly step forward again in order to win this, he is another who probably wont want the ground to dry out any further.
Perfect Man continues to struggle for form, and he once again failed to get competitive at Catterick last time. Since arriving at the yard in May of last year he has raced nine times with his best run coming first time at Cartmel in May. His mark is now 30lb below that run, if he does find his good form again then he will take some stopping. He runs in Division 2 of the two and a half miles handicap hurdle at 3.15.pm, with Alain Cawley taking the ride.
The ex Irish Larry Looby has his second start for us at 3.50.pm, in the 0-100 handicap
chase, with Alain Cawley retaining the ride. The ground shouldn't be a problem as Larry Looby has won a point to point on good ground back in 2018. In 13 starts under rules in Ireland he failed to reach a place but did show some ability and received a best Irish official rating of 93. He pulled up at Carlisle on his stable debut four weeks ago, and can now race from a 10lb lower mark.
We also run Furax in the same event, with Jack Hogan on board for the first time. Furax was a dual winner in France, but has struggled both over hurdles and fences four times since joining us in December 2020. After racing once for us he suffered injury and had to miss the next 11 months, and since returning he has failed to get competitive, with his mark having dropped from 127, to his current 102.
Our final runner of the day is Monaghan Boy who has his fourth start in bumper company at 4.20.pm, where he will once again be partnered by Alain Cawley. Monaghan Boy has improved with each run, which have all been at Catterick so far, and this stiffer track should be in his favour. On paper this race looks the weakest he has contested so far, and the ground doesn't look a problem.
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Good luck to the connections, Mrs Gemma Hogg, The Golden Cuckoo, Mr & Mrs D Lees & D Pollitt, Richard Howard & Ben Howard, The Rat Pack Racing Club, and Ursa Major And Partners.