DCSIMG

Arkle contender Overturn favourite at Musselburgh

  • by ASHLEY IVESON
 

Leading Arkle hope Overturn faces three opponents as he completes his racecourse preparations for next month’s Cheltenham Festival in the Scottish Arkle Novices’ Chase at Musselburgh tomorrow.

Trainer Donald McCain played a big part in persuading the racecourse to put on an extra two-mile novice chase, and the East Lothian track has been rewarded with last season’s Champion Hurdle runner-up Overturn facing a fascinating duel with the Nicky Henderson-trained Tetlami. Overturn could not have been more impressive in his two starts over fences at Sandown and Doncaster this season and is the general second favourite for the Arkle at Cheltenham behind Henderson’s talented grey Simonsig.

“It’s a grand little race, it’s great they are putting it on and it will be nice to get it out of the way,” said McCain. “The ground will be as good as you will find anywhere at the moment and the horse is in good nick, so we’ll see what happens. All going well, this will be his last run before Cheltenham.”

Although an outsider for the Arkle at this stage, Tetlami is certainly an interesting challenger to Overturn this weekend. A high-class novice hurdler last season, the seven-year-old won decisively on his fencing bow at Kempton last month and jockey Barry Geraghty feels there should be more to come. “Obviously he’s taking on Overturn, but I’m looking forward to riding him as I think he’ll have improved a good bit for his run in Kempton the last day,” said Geraghty. “He’s a good horse and was a classy old hurdler. We’ll see how he goes on Sunday and take it from there.”

The Scottish Arkle is the opening contest on a blockbuster eight-race card. The Lucinda Russell-trained Tap Night is one of the more interesting runners as he aims to enhance his big reputation against three rivals in the Scottish Future Champions Novices’ Chase. Rated in the 140s over hurdles, the six-year-old was snapped up by leading owner JP McManus prior to his excellent chasing debut at Ayr in early January.

Russell said: “It’s only a small field but it’s still quite a tight little race. Our horse is in good form and he’s schooled a couple of times since he ran at Ayr. Everything has gone very well. It will be more valuable experience for him and we’ll see how we get on. AP [McCoy] is in Ireland so Barry Geraghty rides, which is great. It’s the first time Barry has ridden for me.”

The John Smith’s Scottish Champion Chase has attracted an interesting field of nine runners, including last year’s third De Boitron. His trainer, Ferdy Murphy, said: “He ran well to finish third in the race last year and I think he’s a bit more forward this time around, so hopefully he’ll run well.”

A superb card is rounded off by an interesting CGA Scottish Foxhunter Chase, featuring Cloudy Lane and Gwanako, and a conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle.

There’s some top-class action today at Ffos Las, but racecourse chairman Dai Walters does not rate his chances of winning the feature race at the Carmarthenshire track with his own horse Tanerko Emery. Walters would settle for a place with the David Pipe-trained seven-year-old in the William Hill Welsh Champion Hurdle, a race he won two years ago with Oscar Whisky. Formerly a conditions race over two miles, Walters is happy to again have a runner in what is now a limited handicap over a further half-mile.

Tanerko Emery goes into the race in good form with victories at Sandown and Lingfield in December. Walters said: “It’s a class race. I know he’s off a low weight, but I reckon he has too much to do. If he gets a place I’ll be happy.”

Lucy Wadham is looking for a good run from El Dancer, who has also been in good form of late. “He’s really been consistent this season. He had a wind operation in the spring, that seems to have helped him and he’s heading back up to the rating he was on when he won his novice hurdle at Aintree,” said the Newmarket trainer. “We’ve been put up 5lb for being second twice running now. He’s got good form in heavy ground and we’re hoping he can run really well and get into a place.”

On the same card, Carruthers reverts to the job he does best after a fling over hurdles last weekend when he lines up for the William Hill West Wales National Handicap Chase.

The 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup hero is reported to have taken little out of himself when well-beaten in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham. He is now back over fences on a course where he had won his previous race in good style on Boxing Day.

“He had a really nice time at Cheltenham. I don’t think he tried very hard. He came back very full of himself,” said trainer Mark Bradstock’s wife Sara. “The great thing about Ffos Las is that they do run when it’s so wet and that’s ground he loves. I think this race looks perfectly winnable. Hopefully they won’t go a million miles an hour. The front-runners in the field are not runaways, they are just horses that make the running. Nico [de Boinville] rode him well last time and keeps the ride. He came down to school him this morning and the horse is flying.”

Connections of Junior are hoping the David Pipe-trained top weight will be able to cope with the testing conditions. “It looks like the ground is going to be a bit deep for him, but we’ve been trying to find the best race for him. It was either this or the National Trial at Haydock,” said Nick Bradley, bloodstock manager to Middleham Park Racing.

Ffos Las

1.30 Top Gamble

2.05 El Dancer

2.40 Carruthers (nap)

3.10 One In A Milan

3.45 Ski Sunday

4.20 Sandanski

4.50 Heath Hunter

Sandown

1.50 Lord Singer

2.25 Captain Conan

3.00 Mad Max

3.35 Brackloon High

4.10 Kapga De Cerisy

4.40 Shangani

Lingfield

12.40 Abhaath

1.10 King Bertie

1.45 Kabbaas

2.20 Rich Again

2.55 Loyal Royal

3.30 Grey Mirage

4.05 Noble Silk

4.35 Marshall Art

Wetherby

1.00 Mubrook

1.35 Dammam

2.10 Wolf Shield

2.45 Tweedledrum

3.20 Super Duty

3.55 Gansey

4.30 Dakar Run

Saturday Yankee

Brackloon High

3:35 Sandown

Carruthers

2:40 Ffos Las

Mad Max

3:00 Sandown

Lord Singer

1:50 Sandown

TOMORROW

Musselburgh

1.00 Overturn

1.30 Aerial

2.00 Tap Night (nap)

2.30 Kashmir Peak

3.00 Ciceron

3.30 Home Run

4.00 Gwanako

4.30 Father Shine

Lingfield

1.40 Darkest Night

2.10 Precision Strike

2.40 Dolly Colman

3.10 Dubai Applause

3.40 My Scat Daddy

4.10 Availed Speaker

4.40 Crimson Monarch

Double

Tap Night

2:00 Musselburgh

Kashmir Peak

2:30 Musselburgh

 

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