‘Home game’ giving plenty of hope to Cannock Park team

Classy novice hurdle sees a rematch with Jango Baie.

Paul Robson is keen for Cannock Park to make the most of home advantage in the bet365 Premier Novices’ Hurdle at Kelso on Saturday.

The six-year-old has enjoyed a fine season so far, winning a Bangor bumper and a maiden hurdle at Cheltenham before finishing a fine third behind Jango Baie as a 40-1 shot for the inaugural running of the Formby Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree on Boxing Day.

With Nicky Henderson’s Jango Baie again in opposition, Robson is fully aware his stable star his work cut out to turn tables, but is delighted the rematch is taking place on his local track.

“Cannock Park is in great fettle and seems very well in himself,” he said.

“There’s no pressure as he’s been beaten by Jango Baie in the past and the betting suggests he’ll get beaten again. We’re going there very hopeful, but without any pressure.

“He (Jango Baie) is still going to have to come and get us as it is probably the first time we’re going to have our ground. If you go down through the horse’s pedigree he wants top of the ground, we’re going to get it on Saturday and Craig Nichol (jockey) knows Kelso like the back of his hand.

“Jango Baie has got to come six hours up the road and we’ve got 20 minutes to go down the road, so I’m absolutely thrilled we’ve got a race of this magnitude at Kelso.

“Whether six hours travelling will equate to the 12 lengths he beat us at Aintree, probably not, but he did get beat the last day so it’s not as if he’s super human. We’ll have a crack at him anyway.”

Jango Baie in action at Huntingdon
Jango Baie in action at Huntingdon (David Davies/PA)

Jango Baie was impressive at Aintree, but was no match for Ben Pauling’s Handstands in the Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle at Huntingdon last month.

Pauling is represented this weekend by Personal Ambition, who has his sights raised after notching a second win from three starts over hurdles at Doncaster early in the new year.

Pauling said: “He’s in great order and this has been the aim for a long time. The ground will be fine and two-mile-two is ideal, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he gets on.

“He won first time over hurdles at Warwick as he liked, beating Jingko Blue of Nicky’s, who I think is a decent horse and has since won a handicap at Sandown very nicely.

“We then went to Sandown for a Grade Two novice where he got stuck in the mud and nothing really went his way, then he went up to Doncaster and did it as he liked, so I think he’s fairly unexposed.

“He’s in very good form and seems to be going the right way, so hopefully he can put up a good show.”

Brucio on her way to victory at the Dublin Racing Festival
Brucio on her way to victory at the Dublin Racing Festival (Niall Carson/PA)

Stuart Crawford’s Brucio is an interesting contender from Ireland, having followed up a low-key win at Catterick with a wide-margin handicap victory at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Crawford said: “She seems in good form at home, hopefully she’s in as good a form as what she was going to Leopardstown.

“We were torn between going for the Morebattle and going for the novice race on Saturday and if the handicapper is right, she probably is better off in the novice. She’s carrying less weight and she’s higher rated than most of her rivals in it.

“Things have just fallen right for her and hopefully she can put in another big run this weekend.”

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