A busy Thursday schedule sees the return of Irish racing with a jumps fixture at Clonmel, which joins both Leicester and Kelso over the sticks. The latter meeting hosts some high-class action with the Morebattle Hurdle and Ivan Straker Memorial Chase both on the card at the Scottish borders venue.
Elsewhere, on the all-weather there are fixtures on the polytrack at Lingfield, and also at Chelmsford in the evening.
Kelso (jumps) – 1.25 – 4.40pm (7 races)
Lingfield (flat, aw) – 1.45 – 5.00pm (7 races)
Clonmel (jumps) – 1.50 – 5.05pm (7 races)
Leicester (jumps) – 2.05 – 4.50pm (6 races)
Chelmsford (flat, aw) – 5.50 – 8.30pm (6 races)
) found only the well-handicapped and classy Starchitect too strong when last seen at Ayr in January, finishing three lengths’ second to David Pipe’s charge over a trip well short of his best; but back over a more suitable distance this time around, Nicky Richards’ charge can get back to winning ways.
The Golden Tornado gelding was a dual-winner last term over hurdles, and he has quickly made up into a useful chaser with a solid third on debut at Carlisle in November prior to falling when looking held at Catterick.
There was nothing wrong with his run last time, and he could have scope for better off this mark as he goes handicapping for the first time.
Cyrus Darius can get back to winning ways at Kelso on Thursday.
(2.25) CYRUS DARIUS
) was considered to be potentially amongst the top novices in the 2015/16 season on the back of a hat-trick of wins prior which included in a Grade Two novices’ hurdle at Aintree, when he made a winning debut over fences at Perth .
However, he sustained an injury and was absent for some time until making his return in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock behind The New One; he understandably needed that run, so little should be read into his effort there where he finished a well-beaten fourth having ran keenly.
He is entitled to build on that effort, and given time to recover he should take all the beating if anywhere near his best.
1.25 – Reivers Lad
1.55 – Takingrisks
2.25 – Cyrus Darius
3.00 – Saphir Du Rheu
3.35 – Rhymers Stone
4.05 – Black Thunder
4.40 – Some Reign
(2.45) JACK FLASH
) showed glimpses of ability in Ireland for Ger Lyons, but the move to Les Eyre’s yard brought his first win when successful on debut for his new trainer at Lingfield last month, beating Dark Destroyer.
The Dark Angel gelding was subsequently beaten less than one length behind Alkashaaf at Newcastle on his last outing earlier in February, going down by less than one length having tried to make all.
The fifth horse home in that race has won since to give the form a boost, and having just a 2lbs rise in the weights to contend with in this latest outing he could prove ahead of his mark given his earlier win here has also taken a form boost with the runner-up, third and fourth all subsequently going on to register wins.
With the potential for further improvement for this yard, he is taken to resume winning ways in a competitive contest.
Roger Charlton (left) can saddle a winner at Lingfield.
(3.55) His debut aside, ROCK STEADY
) has yet to run a bad race and Roger Charlton’s charge could well be up to winning this contest.
The Intikhab gelding was a winner on turf at Windsor back in July, after which he posted a sequence of runner-up finished on turf and polytrack before getting back on the scoresheet at Wolverhampton in November.
He has since posted further silver-medal finishes at that track and here last time when beaten only a half-length behind Pinzolo in January; the third has won since, and having been raised just 1lb in the weights on the back of that effort, he should again be competitive and he can get back to winning ways here.
1.45 – Seprani
2.15 – All Good
2.45 – Jack Flash
3.20 – Good Time Ahead
3.55 – Rock Steady
4.30 – Tidal’s Baby
5.00 – Black Dave
(3.25) DOUBLE ISLAND
) was a winner between the flags for John Walsh prior to joining this yard, and the Turtle Island gelding showed some good form over timber last term, including chasing home Open Eagle on his debut for Henry de Bromhead at Fairyhouse prior to locking horns with Min.
Having shaped as if in need of the run on his seasonal debut at Punchestown back in December, he left that run behind with a solid runner-up effort behind Stone Hard at Limerick; although he was a shade disappointing last time at Gowran Park when a well-beaten fourth behind Great Field.
He is better than that, and this slightly longer trip could see an improved effort; he’s given another chance to build on earlier promise over the larger obstacles, and he can go close here.
1.50 – Runfordave
2.20 – Awayinthewest
2.50 – Chambord Du Lys
3.25 – Double Island
4.00 – All The Chimneys
4.35 – More Than Ever
5.05 – Arvico Bleu
(3.10) MERCIAN PRINCE
) was a winner over fences in France prior to joining this yard, and the Midnight Legend gelding has continued the good work in winning at Southwell and sandown, and he was still in the process of running well when falling at Cheltenham last month in a race won by Royal Vacation.
Amy Murphy’s charge had yet to be asked for his effort when departing the race three fences out, and he would most likely have gone close with a clear round; a first-time tongue-tie could bring about further improvement, and racing off the same mark here he should go close.
Venetia Williams' Un Prophete can land the hat-trick with success at Leicester.
(3.45) UN PROPHETE
) is 2-2 over fences for Venetia Williams, scoring at Ludlow and Southwell within the space of six days last month, and the Carlotamix gelding can land the hat-trick.
His last win saw him run out a ready six lengths’ winner over Texas Forever, scoring comfortably and suggesting that there was still plenty under the bonnet; he’s been hiked up the ratings significantly as a result, but still open to improvement in this sphere, he is worth sticking with and he should go close again.
2.05 – Edgar
2.35 – Storming Strumpet
3.10 – Mercian Prince
3.45 – Un Prophete
4.20 – Song Saa
4.50 - Samarnni
(7.00) The consistent ALDRETH
) could be the answer to a tricky handicap, and Mick Easterby’s Champs Elysees gelding got just reward for a string of in-the-frame efforts when scoring here last month from Bracken Brae.
He had previously finished just over one length behind Stamford Raffles at Newcastle and had collected a trio of silver medals prior to that success; the form of that latest win has been franked by the runner-up, fourth, seventh and eighth horses home all winning since and he could still be well-treated having been raised only 2lbs for that success.
Aldreth can follow up his last-time win with success at Chelmsford.
(8.30) Willyegolassiego will be popular to follow up her last-time win, but the 6lbs penalty she carries could anchor her and KAY SERA
) can take advantage.
The Kayf Tara gelding was a winner back in December at Wolverhampton, beating Hydrant, and she has since run well in subsequent defeats back at that venue where she hasn’t been beaten far behind My Mistress and Sebastian’s Wish respectively.
Tony Newcombe’s charge has only once raced on polytrack in his career, which came in a jumpers’ bumper back in December 2014 where he finished third behind the useful Outrath; he might have finished closer last time had he not met with trouble in running, and off the same mark in a slightly easier contest he can resume winning ways with the extra distance here expected to suit.
5.50 – Celtic Artisan
6.25 – Dubai Waves
7.00 – Aldreth
7.30 – Gold Flash
8.00 – Diamond Indulgence
8.30 – Kay Sera