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The lack of recent rain has decimated the size of the fields at Catterick on Monday, with only 33 runners being declared over the six races, although in the two events that concern us there are 10 and 8 runners respectively. The going at the time of writing is good, good to firm in places.

Royle Steel has shown his best form when winning on good ground, at a massive 80/1 in February of last year at Sedgefield, and then backed that up with a respectable second at Newcastle in March. He made his seasonal return at Market Rasen 74 days ago, where he finished fifth on a good to soft surface. With that run behind him, and on this more suitable ground, he should be more competitive this time. The race is a 0-115 handicap hurdle over two miles and three furlongs at, with Emma Smith-Chaston taking the ride.

Bon Vitesse appears to act on most types of ground, and she was a winner on good going on the flat as a two year old at Pontefract back in 2020. She took well to hurdles when winning twice for us last season, and on her seasonal return at Hexham in November she finished a very creditable third, but on Boxing Day at Wetherby she took a backward step, when never able to get involved. She goes to post for the 0-130 handicap hurdle, over the extended one mile and seven furlongs at 3.15, with Connor O'Farrell on board for the first time.

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, A E Tasker, and The Golden Cuckoo.

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