Trainer Alistair Whillans praying for no rain at Perth

Champion jockey Richard Johnson after he and Perth Racecourse chairman John Gellatly cut the ribbon at The Lodge, a brand-new state-of-the-art accommodation and stable complex which opened for business yesterday during two days of racing at the course. They were joined at the opening by chief executive Hazel Peplinksi. Johnson said: Its a fantastic facility at Perth for the stable staff but also a top facility in Perth to stay outwith racing. Picture: Fraser Band
Champion jockey Richard Johnson after he and Perth Racecourse chairman John Gellatly cut the ribbon at The Lodge, a brand-new state-of-the-art accommodation and stable complex which opened for business yesterday during two days of racing at the course. They were joined at the opening by chief executive Hazel Peplinksi. Johnson said: Its a fantastic facility at Perth for the stable staff but also a top facility in Perth to stay outwith racing. Picture: Fraser Band
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Alistair Whillans is keeping his fingers crossed that the rain stays away for Gleann Na Ndochais in the feature race at Perth today.

The Hawick raider is set to face ten rivals in the Mackie’s Cream Of The Crop Handicap Chase.

Whillans said: “He’s a course and distance winner but we are worried about the ground being too soft. He’s in great form but we will check conditions in the morning.”

There is a strong Irish challenge in the £10,000 contest but Yorkshire trained 
Royal McNab also has winning course and distance form for 
Rebecca Menzies.

Richard Johnson and 
Russian Regent came out on top in a pulsating finish to the featured Mackie’s Sky To Scoop Handicap Chase.

The combination made virtually all to pip Baileys Concerto by a neck with Dr Moloney three quarters of a length back in third.

Johnson said: “He’s very game and seems to love the track. Perth have been good to me too as I had 18 winners here last season which was more than any other course. Trainers like Gordon Elliott, who has Russian Regent, have been very supportive up here.”

Harry Challoner rode out his claim when Gold Chain romped to victory in the Royal Caledonian Hunt Handicap Hurdle. Dianne Sayer’s mare slammed Morning With Ivan by ten lengths and Challoner said: “Hopefully this will help launch me a bit as my career has been going round in circles a little bit.”

Elsewhere, Cajoled found Listed company too tough an ask last time but dropped back in class today she can regain the winning thread in the Moulton Nursery of Acle Handicap at Yarmouth.

A winner on her racecourse debut on the all weather last December, Cajoled then posted a taking success on her first try in handicap company at Nottingham, winning by the best part of two lengths.

With Oaks and Ribblesdale entries having been made for the Niarchos Family-owned filly, it was understandable trainer George Scott was then keen to test her mettle at a higher level. Pitched into the Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood, Cajoled showed that leap up to be beyond her at this stage as she started slowly and then failed to put up any kind of challenge before finishing last of nine runners.

Given she is rated only 79, Scott was probably aiming a bit too high there but the outing is more experience under her belt and reverting to handicap level can see Cajoled get her campaign back on track.

Escalating has obvious claims in the totequadpot Races 3,4,5 And 6 Handicap at Epsom. After a trio of good efforts in defeat, Mick Appleby’s sprinter opened his account for the campaign in some style in testing conditions at Nottingham last week.

It is no surprise to see him make a swift return under the mandatory penalty and he should be a tough nut to crack.