The going for Hexham on Saturday at the time of writing is good, good to soft in places, with the likelihood of it drying out further.
First up is Brickadank who goes to post at 2.05.pm, in a 0-100 handicap hurdle over two miles. Brickadank is progressing with his racing, and posted a personal best last time out over this course and distance when finishing third, beaten by two and three quarter lengths, and will race again from the same mark of 83, with Becky Smith retaining the ride.
There cant be many horses bred by the great Galileo who have plied their trade over fences, but at 3.50.pm, his son Maison D'Or will tackle them for the first time in a 0-115 handicap chase over three miles. Maison D'Or has been well under par on all of his last four starts, three times over hurdles, and last time on the flat, which has seen his mark slip to 97 which is 1lb below his last winning rating achieved back in November 2019. This test will certainly give Maison D'Or something different to concentrate his mind on, and Conor O'Farrell will ride him for the first time.
We are doubly represented at 4.45.pm, in a two and a half mile handicap hurdle for horses rated 0-115. Kayf Adventure was a classy chaser when trained by Philip Hobbs, reaching a career high mark of 139 back in January 2018. After racing once for us last December he had wind surgery, and has run on six occasions since, the pick being at Carlisle over fences, when finishing third in April. Unfortunately he unseated on his next start, and on a return to hurdles over this course and distance last time, he was third, beaten by 28 lengths. He probably wouldn't want the ground to dry out any further, and Conor O'Farrell retains the ride.
We also run Mr Lombardi who is a lightly raced six year old.He ran on seven occasions in Ireland for the yard of Mouse Morris, with the pick of his form coming at Cork in first time blinkers in July of last year, and he probably matched that effort next time at Sligo, when finishing fifth. He made his stable debut for us at Huntingdon last month when trailing in a well beaten fifth of the six runners, for which the handicapper has dropped him 5lb, to a current mark of 107, Henry Brooke will take the ride.
Iconic Hero makes a quick return to the track having run only a week ago at Cartmel when finishing ninth. The race is a 0-100 handicap chase over two and a half miles, with Conor O'Farrell once again in the saddle. Iconic Hero can now race off a further 5lb lower mark, and he is very attractively weighted on his form when trained by Dan Skelton last year. The trip should be within his compass, and the ground will hold no fears.
Our final runner is The Very Thing at 5.55.pm, an Amateur Jockeys handicap hurdle over two miles and seven furlongs. The Very Thing was running well last season having just finished second at Wetherby when racing was put in to lock down, prematurely bringing an end to his season. He ran well after a ninth month break last November, but disappointed the next twice, but he signified he is on the way back when beaten just six lengths at Perth last time. He is now down to a mark of 89, which is 8lb lower than that Wetherby run, but he wouldn't want the ground to dry out any more, Becky Smith rides him for the first time.
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Good luck to the connections, A & S Associates, D Lees, Cheltenham Trail & Cleeve Racing Club, J N Swinbank, The Rat Pack Racing Club, Derek Walpole.