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GREAT RAFFLES WILL ATTEMPT TO DEFEND HIS CROWN.

We have four runners at Wetherby on Tuesday, where the going at the time of writing is soft, good to soft in places.


Contre Ordre is first up at 2.50.pm, in a 0-120 handicap chase over two miles and three furlongs, where he will be partnered by Emma Smith-Chaston for the first time. In three starts since arriving from France last October Contre Ordre has failed to get competitive, which has seen his mark drop by 18lb. At just five years old he still has plenty of time on his side, and once he settles fully in to his new surroundings, he will have a very attractive handicap mark.


Bonne Vitesse was twice a winner in her juvenile season over jumps, and then made a pleasing reappearance at Hexham in November, but her last two starts have to be a cause for concern, as she has failed to get competitive in either run. A return to form would put her in with a big shout from a falling handicap mark of 108. She goes to post for the 3.25.pm, a 0-120 handicap hurdle over two miles, with Becky Smith on board for the first time.


Great Raffles came good at this time last year when winning this corresponding race from a 15lb lower mark than now, he was even better at Sedgefield a month later when following up with an eight and a half lengths success, and on both of this seasons starts he has been placed. Unfortunately the handicapper continues to nudge him up, but there is no reason why he shouldn't go close again. The race is a 0-100 handicap hurdle over three miles, with Sean Bowen having his first ever ride for the yard.


Admiral Horatio has had his training problems, as this will be only his third start since making his debut 10 months ago. This will be his third bumper run, where after running green on debut at Market Rasen, he then never got competitive at Catterick 123 days ago. His education continues at 5.10.pm, in the two miles bumper, with Billy Garritty retaining the ride.


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, Graeme Newton, The Golden Cuckoo, and Mrs B M Lofthouse.

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