There is no inspection planned for Sedgefield on Monday, and the next wave of bad weather isn't due until Tuesday, so there is every chance the meeting will go ahead on heavy ground.
Penpal makes his British handicap debut in the 1.30.pm, off a mark of 118, which is 7lb lower than what he was allotted when first arriving from France. Alain Cawley tried to make all on him at Catterick last time over an extended two miles and three furlongs, weakening from two furlongs out to finish fifth, beaten by 11 lengths. He now drops down to an extended two miles, with Alain retaining the ride.
We have two runners in the 2.30.pm, a 0-110 two miles and five furlong handicap hurdle. Artic Quest showed brief glimpses of form when trained in Ireland, to suggest that there is a race in him, and he confirmed that promise on his stable debut at Cartmel last August when finishing a very creditable second. Unfortunately in two subsequent runs, both at Hexham in October, he failed to show the same form, his mark of 96 appears to be just about right, and Joe Colliver rides him for the first time. Our other representative in the race is the ex Irish Getaway Jewel. He arrived having shown nothing in five starts, but since joining us has made steady progress in each of his three runs. On his last two starts he has been doing his best work at the business end, so this step up in trip of two furlongs should be in his favour. Alain Cawley takes over in the saddle from Becky Smith who is unable to take the mount, due to amateurs not being allowed to ride at the moment, because of the covid situation.
We also have two runners in the 3.0.pm, a 0-105 handicap chase over three miles and two furlongs. Late Date is somewhat of a Sedgefield specialist having won around the track on three previous occasions, but so far this season he hasn't been in the same form.He made a very satisfactory reappearance at Perth last September, but has pulled up the last twice.His mark has dropped to a good looking 96, but he needs to get back on track, Alain Cawley takes the ride.
Our other runner in the race is the mare Ciarabella, before arriving at the yard she looked totally devoid of ability, having finished well down the field in all of her eight racecourse appearances, but after 15 months off the track she made her debut for us at Cartmel, and surpassed expectation when finishing a 10 lengths third of the 12 runners, but she failed to build on that in the heavy ground at Hexham in December, where she could only manage to finish fifth. She is racing from 5lb out of the handicap, but our conditional jockey Aiden Macdonald will take off 10lb.
We also have two runners in the 3.30.pm, a 0-105 handicap hurdle over the extended two miles.The ex French Locou would be a shoe in off his current mark of 86 if able to recapture his form in France from 2019, he was running with some promise when finishing fourth, and sixth at Newcastle, and Wetherby just before lock-down, but he has disappointed in all three attempts so far this season, Alain Cawley takes the ride.
Nothing would give us greater pleasure than if Kisumu could finally win a race at the 49th time of asking.Whether it is two miles, or two and a half miles, he seems to run well, right up until that extra gear is required.His best run over jumps came at Wetherby just over a year ago, when finishing second off a mark of 73, this time he has to race off 78, but Aiden Macdonald will claim 10lb off of him. The majority of his races have been on a sounder surface, but he has got bits and pieces of form on heavy.
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Good luck to the connections, The Golden Cuckoo, Ian Barran & Oakwood, MKjp, County Set Six & Partner, M.H.O.G., A Walsh, J Hill, S Toomes, and Tasker-Brown & Partners.