It's Sedgefield on Thursday afternoon where the going is currently good, and with this sunny spell expected to continue, the surface will only dry out further. Once again Sedgefield has to be complemented for putting on some decent prize money for this grade of racing.
First up for us is the ex Irish Bulldoze who took a big step forward at Sedgefield in January on his latest start when finishing a respectable runner up. He faces three in form rivals at 2.47.pm, in a 0-120 novices handicap chase over two miles and one furlong, with Alain Cawley retaining the ride. He will have to surpass that last run in order to take this, but that is possible.
Desaray Girl completed her hat-trick over this course and distance nine days ago, and will now have to shoulder a further 7lb, taking her mark to 112. It has to be remembered though that it was only a little over two years ago that she was rated 133, and had won in Listed company. More of a worry than the extra weight will be the quickening of the ground as all her best form is on a softer surface. She goes to post for the 3.17.pm, a 0-120 handicap hurdle over the extended two mile and three furlongs with Emma Smith-Chaston retaining the ride.
Onenightintown took another step forward at Sedgefield nine days ago when finishing runner up, and showing that his old temperamental problems appear to be behind him. If the handicapper had time to reassess him then he would be carrying an extra 7lb so his chance here is obvious. The main concern would be that this will be his third run in just 24 days. The race is at 3.47.pm, over two miles and three furlongs, with Jack Hogan taking over in the saddle.
The Very Thing goes to post for the 4.17.pm, a 0-105 handicap hurdle over the marathon three miles and three furlongs with his usual rider Becky Smith taking the ride. This is an unusual race as although it is a 0-105, amazingly the top weight is only rated 85, The Very Thing races off 79 which is 5lb higher than his latest win on his penultimate start. The Very Thing never got competitive at Wetherby 17 days ago, but the vet reported that he had bled from the nose. A repeat of that penultimate win at Catterick would probably be good enough to take this.
We are doubly represented in the finale at 5.17.pm, a 0-100 handicap hurdle over the extended two miles and three furlongs. Burnage Boy remains a maiden after 31 starts but has finished runner up on four occasions over hurdles, and will handle a faster surface. He was second at Sedgefield in November, and then fourth at Catterick in December, but has failed to get competitive in any of his next three starts, Becky Smith who was on board at Catterick takes the ride.
Our other runner in the race is Balkotic who caught the eye over this course and distance nine days ago when finishing a staying on fifth behind his stable mate Desaray Girl. This was the first form he had shown in four starts since arriving from France last year. Whether he goes on this faster ground is anyone's guess as he has never run on a surface that hasn't had soft or heavy in the description. Jack Hogan will once again be in the saddle.
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Good luck to the connections, RM&T Holdings Limited & Partners, Resdev, The Rat Pack Racing Club, Derek Walpole, JFW Properties Ltd, and Raypasha.