We head back to Cartmel on Wednesday for their third and final day of the three days spring meeting, where the ground continues to firm up, and at the time of writing it is good, good to firm in places.
Lucou is first up in the 4.05.pm, a 0-100 two miles and one furlong selling hurdle. The experiment in sending Lucou down to Fakenham for a near three miles race failed to spark him back in to life, but to be fair he probably didn't see the trip out. The return to this distance will be in his favour, but he does need to recapture his form of 2020, when just before lock down he was competitive off a mark 21lb higher than now. This will be the fastest surface he has ever run on, and Alain Cawley takes the ride.
It's a big welcome back to our stable conditional jockey Emma Smith-Chaston, who has been out injured for approximately the last seven months, she has had two rides since returning. both for other yards, and she will partner the ex Irish Soloheadbeg, who makes his stable debut for us. The race is at 4.40.pm, over two miles and one furlong, a 0-120 for conditional riders. Soloheadbeg ran seven times in Ireland, with the standout piece of form being when he was beaten six and a half lengths in to fourth, in a maiden hurdle at Tipperary in June of last year, when he was keeping on at the finish. He has been allotted a mark of 107, which would be fair if he is able to build on that run, but his two subsequent runs in July, saw him weaken quickly from around three out.
Over at Ripon where they are still recovering from all of last weeks rain, the current going is good to soft, good in places. Our runner is the six times winner Stormin Norman at 8.0.pm in a two miles 0-75 handicap, with Graham Lee, who has won on him previously, taking the mount. Stormin Norman proved himself every bit as good over hurdles during the winter as he is on the flat, but he may also have developed a quirk or two. At Newcastle in March he tried to refuse at the fourth hurdle, and on his return to the flat last month, his jockey reported that the horse was never travelling. The Stormin Norman of last year would very lightly put this race to bed, but whatever he does in the future, he has already achieved considerably.
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Good luck to the connections, A Walsh, J Hill, S Toomes, Oakwood Minions, and The Monday Club.