LUCINDA Russell is hoping conditions will favour Ballycool in the feature race at Perth today.
Trained just a few miles down the M90, the Milnathort raider faces seven rivals in the £10,000 Sodexo Prestige Venues And Events Handicap Chase.
Russell said: “He’s had the summer off but has often gone well fresh in the past. Derek Fox gets in well with him and has ridden him to his three wins. He likes nice ground and will only run if it’s genuinely good going.”
Also in the line up is Claragh Native, the winner of last year’s corresponding race off a 7lb lower mark for Cumbrian trainer Martin Todhunter.
Another interesting contender is Rose Dobbin’s Robin’s Command who has gained three of his six wins over course and distance. He was third in a Perth novices’ hurdle recently as he returned from a two-month break and Mrs Dobbin’s husband Tony said: “He used to be a very difficult horse at home and wasn’t getting home in the races but he’s much more grown up now and our patience is being rewarded.”
The card, day one of the Scotland Food & Drink Festival, sees four-time track scorer Strobe – another locally trained at Glenfarg by Lucy Normile – bid to follow up last month’s 20-1 win at Bangor in the Strongbow Dark Fruit Handicap Chase.
Officer Sydney looked impressive at Roscommon last month and is the choice in the Isle of Skye 8yo Scotch Blended Whisky Juvenile Hurdle.
John Best’s team appears to be starting to fire again after a lean spell and Mossgo can keep up the good work in the John Wood Memorial Handicap at Windsor. The five-year-old was in excellent form earlier in the campaign but seemed to go off the boil a bit in the high summer before returning to winning ways on the Kempton all-weather last month.
Mossgo showed an affinity for Lingfield when notching up a hat-trick in May but turf outings in June and at the beginning of August failed to yield similar joy, although the yard was perhaps not in the best form at that point.
However, Mossgo showed he is still a force to be reckoned with when third at Windsor on the second of those turf runs while his Kempton success should have sent his confidence sky high.
His new mark of 74 obviously presents a tougher challenge but he was rated as high as 77 back in 2012 and it may be has enough in the locker to defy that augmented mark.
Song Of Norway let down favourite-backers when last seen but should be given a chance to redeem herself in the Mayo Wynne Baxter Handicap at Brighton. She got on the scoresheet at the 11th attempt at Catterick in May but had no answers to the winner as she could finish only third at Musselburgh on her next start in June. Chris Wall’s runner was hardly disgraced in being beaten just over a length and should appreciate the good ground.
At Kempton on Saturday, Jack Hobbs completed his preparation for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with a fluent success in the totescoop6 September Stakes.
The Irish Derby hero showed no signs of rustiness on his first start since lighting up the Curragh back in June, making his class tell to turn the Group Three event into a procession.
Gosden said: “I hadn’t done a lot of work with him and he was fresh down to the start, but in the race William [Buick] managed to switch him off and get him relaxed. There’s no reason why we won’t go to France and he has won well. He handles soft if it goes that way in France and there is no reason not to look in that direction.”
Henry Candy described Twilight Son as “a natural” after the colt stylishly maintained his unbeaten record in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock. With the Wantage handler having decided against running Limato on Merseyside, his less-vaunted stablemate proved a beautiful foil to give journeyman jockey Fergus Sweeney a first Group One triumph after 20 years of trying.
For Twilight Son, the chance of more Group One gains in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot is now on the horizon.
Candy said: “I thought I might be made to look incredibly stupid, but Fergus said he was incredibly tough.
“He said he couldn’t believe the ease in which he took him into the race.
“I wish I’d taken a picture of him last year as he’s twice the size now.”
2:10 Roc De Prince
2:40 Urban Kode
3:10 It’s All An Act
3:40 Officer Sydney (nap)
4:10 Solway Sam
4:40 Rosie Revenue
2:30 Wild Side
3:00 Song Of Norway
4:00 Binky Blue
4:30 Rosie Royale
5:00 Tax Reform
1:50 Quick March
2:20 Gravity Flow
2:50 Captain Peacock
4:20 Perfect Rhythm
4:50 Royal Roslea
5:20 Secret Bird
Song Of Norway