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ILAYA GOING IN SEARCH OF HER THIRD COURSE WIN.

We send four up to Newcastle on Thursday afternoon, where it looks as if the ground will be riding on the fast side, with the predicted going at the time of writing suggesting good, good to firm in places.


The Very Thing has been declared for the 1.37.pm, a 0-105 novices handicap chase over two miles and seven furlongs with his regular jockey Alain Cawley in the saddle. This will be The Very Thing's chase debut, and on the best of his hurdles form including a second at Wetherby back in March 2020, he is currently very attractively weighted. The trip should be just about suitable as he needs a test of stamina, but all of his best form is on soft ground, so any rain would help.


The four year old filly Howzat Hiris has her third run over hurdles at 2.07.pm, in mares maiden hurdle over two and a half miles, with Conor O'Farrell taking the ride. Howzat Hiris has shown very little in two previous starts over hurdles, and only hinted at ability in three previous bumper runs. She should receive her first handicap mark after this race.


Ilaya was far too keen on her seasonal debut at Wetherby 20 days ago when pulling her way to the front at the fifth, then weakening quickly from three out. With that race under her belt we should see a far more sensible mare this time when she goes to post at 3.07.pm, in a 0-110 handicap hurdle over two miles, with her regular jockey Becky Smith retaining the ride. Ilaya has previously won twice over this course and distance, and on her final start of last season back in March she finished a creditable third from a 5lb higher mark than now. All of her best form is on a softer surface, but there is no proof she can't act on good to firm.


King Of Unicorns will have his third start in bumper company at 3.40.pm, over two miles with Billy Garritty in the saddle. Going off as the 9/5 favourite at Perth on his debut he finished a promising fourth, five and three quarter lengths off the winner. On his return to the track at Carlisle in October he once again showed ability when finishing fifth. He takes on four rivals including the Carlisle winner, whom he meets on 7lb better terms for an eight lengths defeat.


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, Derek Walpole, Sticky Wicket Racing, The Golden Cuckoo, and Joe Buzzeo.

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