KEITH Dalgleish, who has enjoyed another terrific Flat season, is looking for some jumps success today at Musselburgh as the East Lothian track stages the first of 11 National Hunt fixtures in 2014-15.
Dalgleish’s Carluke yard is represented by Nexius, who faces eight rivals in the £8,000 Watch Racing UK Anywhere Handicap Hurdle. He said: “The ground should suit as it was good when he won at Carlisle and Newcastle in the spring. The trip will be fine too and it’s quite a nice race.”
Among those in opposition in the 2m 4f event is last month’s Kelso winner Mo Rouge representing Britain’s most northerly handler, Inverurie-based Jackie Stephens.
The opening race of the new Musselburgh jumps campaign sees veteran Dhaular Dhar make his 136th racecourse appearance in the 100% Racing UK Profits To Racing Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle. Jim Goldie’s 12-year-old will be racing for only the 11th time over hurdles but has solid form on the level this season notably when a head second at Hamilton Park in September. Dun To Perfection should be respected in the Bet With Your Racing UK App Handicap Hurdle.
Trained in Northumberland by the capable Susan Corbett, the seven-year-old chestnut looked good at Hexham in May when he trounced a fair field by 13 lengths.
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The home-bred gelding was punished by the assessor, but he proved a new rating in the 90s was not beyond him at Kelso in September when a close second behind Foot The Bill, who ran really well at Wetherby last weekend.
Dun To Perfection has gone up another couple of pounds for this, but he gets this trip well and is pretty versatile in terms of what the ground may be like.
At Warwick yesterday, Vibrato Valtat made an impressive debut over fences under a confident Sam Twiston-Davies ride in the Weatherbys Private Banking Novices’ Chase at Warwick.
Twiston-Davies delivered the Paul Nicholls-trained grey with an undeniable run on the far rail after jumping the last. Vibrato Valtat (5-2) crept past the long-time leader Thomas Crapper to score by a cheeky length. Sea Current was another two and a half lengths away in third, with the even-money favourite Grumeti only fourth.
Vibrato Valtat was given quotes of 20-1 and 25s for the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival next March.
Meanwhile, Simonsig tops the sponsor’s market for the William Hill King George VI Chase after 37 horses were entered for the Boxing Day feature at Kempton. Injury ruled out Simonsig last season but Hills make him the 5-1 favourite to gain plentiful compensation this term, with last year’s hero Silviniaco Conti available at odds of 8-1.
He is one of five possibles for Nicholls, while Willie Mullins has a trio of contenders in Champagne Fever, Ballycasey and Boston Bob. Last year’s runner-up Cue Card and Ryanair Chase winner Dynaste also feature along with JNwine.com Champion Chase scorer Road To Riches.
• LADBROKES St Leger also-ran Alex My Boy has been transferred to Germany to continue his career with Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Andreas Wohler.
The Dalakhani colt won handicaps at Haydock and Musselburgh for Mark Johnston before booking his St Leger ticket with a narrow second in the Listed March Stakes.
However, he was beaten over ten lengths in eighth in the final Classic of the year, with Bruce Raymond, racing manager for owner Jaber Abdullah, reporting the colt to be sore after the race.
The likelihood of more suitable ground on the continent has prompted his switch to Wohler, who struck gold with the Ryan Moore-ridden Protectionist on Tuesday.
Raymond said: “Jaber Abdullah has quite a few horses in Germany and he just felt the easier ground would be more suitable for the horse.”
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