Storm Control can take charge of the McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Chase at Warwick.
Trainer Kerry Lee has Grand National pretensions with her much-improved eight-year-old – and if that plan is to be feasible, he must demonstrate further evidence of his staying potential as he moves up in trip again this weekend.
Storm Control has been a revelation since being asked to race beyond three miles for the first time, with back-to-back Cheltenham wins earning him a rise of 11lb in the handicap.
His progress has been marked by fluent jumping from the front, a running style which should be to his significant advantage over Warwick’s notoriously tricky line of fences in the back straight.
Cheltenham has certainly held on fears, so hopes must be high that he can operate equally well here.
Two previous trips to Warwick have been suspiciously fruitless, with Storm Control failing to finish in handicaps over hurdles and fences.
He was in nothing like his current form either time, though, and those misadventures are highly likely to be less significant than the market may potentially decide.
Connections will surely not allow the reconnaissance over a new distance to compromise forceful tactics which clearly suit Storm Control so well and have put his rivals out of their comfort zone of late.
There was every indication at Cheltenham last time, in a mesmerising finish, that he will stay further than he already has – because after slowing and wandering on the run-in, he quickened away again in the dying strides once seriously challenged.
It is not difficult to envisage a similar performance here, preferably without another dose of late drama.
Next Destination is already a Grade Two winner over fences, and must therefore concede weight to his two rivals as he bids to follow up at the same level in the McCoy Contractors Hampton Novices’ Chase.
Fiddlerontheroof is the obvious danger, but it does not look an insurmountable penalty by any means for the nine-year-old – who signalled on his stable debut for Paul Nicholls when second over hurdles at Wetherby that he retained much of the ability which made him a dual Grade One winner over timber for Willie Mullins in his youth.
He then won on his chase debut at Newbury, over just half-a-furlong shorter than this, and – with forecast soft ground in his favour – can continue making up for time lost to injury which interrupted his career for more than two years.
Sky Pirate appears to have belatedly found his best trip, and will surely be hard to stop over two miles in the Edward Courage Cup Handicap Chase.
Jonjo O’Neill’s charge was highly consistent yet also a serial loser at distances up to three-and-a-quarter miles – but dropped to almost the minimum at Cheltenham, he was back in the winner’s enclosure for the first time in 12 attempts, dating back to summer 2018.
He won with ease too, from an in-form and subsequently successful rival, so should not be opposed despite his 11lb rise in the ratings.
Later on the card, Come On Teddy is another Cheltenham winner worth supporting in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.
Tom George’s seven-year-old was a well-backed and emphatic scorer off a low weight in similar company on his second start of the campaign in December.
He is a contender for the final of this series at the Festival in March, and can keep himself near the top of that ante-post market with another bold show here.
Market Rasen has a rare share of the Saturday limelight, and Eileendover may be the star of the show in Lincolnshire.
She has won her only two career starts by an aggregate 45 lengths, following up a shock debut win at Huntingdon with another romp at Wetherby.
Eileendover, who hails from Pam Sly’s Flat-orientated yard, has an extra three furlongs to cope with in the Listed Alan Swinbank Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
But she has hardly looked like stopping so far and, receiving 11lb from her elders, may just have too much speed again round this sharp course in a race which has fallen to a four-year-old in each of its last two runnings.
Lil Rockerfeller would be a popular winner of the MansionBet’s Bet 10 Get 20 Hurdle.
Neil King’s stable stalwart has 11 career victories to his credit and proved he retains plenty of ability when runner-up at Newbury on what was his first competitive appearance in a year.
This conditions event looks an excellent opportunity for him to go one better.
Lingfield punters are advised to side with Corazon Espinado in the Bombardier British-Hopped Amber Beer Handicap.
The six-year-old ended a 12-month losing streak when bolting up over the course and distance a week ago and even a 9lb rise might not be enough to stop him repeating the trick.
The Clive Cox-trained Global Acclaim is expected to make it two from two at Kempton in the first division of the Unibet Casino Deposit £10 Get £40 Bonus Fillies’ Novice Stakes.
00 Youmdor, 12.
30 Global Equity, 1.
05 One More Light, 1.
40 Walk To Freedom, 2.
15 Chatham Street Lad, 2.
50 Ilikedwayurthinkin, 3.
25 Key Commander, 4.
00 Gerri Colombe.
15 Global Acclaim, 4.
45 Valentinka, 5.
15 Law Of The Sea, 5.
50 Cristal Pallas Cat, 6.
20 Discomatic, 6.
50 Freedom And Wheat, 7.
20 Broughton Sunpearl, 7.
50 Cape Greco, 8.
20 No Diggity.
45 Cafe Sydney, 12.
15 Gypsy Dancer, 12.
50 Sky Bright, 1.
25 Corazon Espinado, 2.
00 Dutugamunu, 2.
35 Bint Dandy, 3.
10 Sun Power, 3.
45 Swiss Pride.
MARKET RASEN: 12.
20 Mac Tottie, 12.
55 Diakosaint, 1.
30 Fawsley Spirit, 2.
05 Oscars Leader, 2.
40 Lil Rockerfeller, 3.
15 Eileendover, 3.
50 Easy Bucks.
40 Frankincense, 1.
15 Sky Pirate, 1.
50 Next Destination, 2.
25 Adrimel, 3.
00 STORM CONTROL (NAP), 3.
35 Come On Teddy, 4.
05 Gold Bullion.
DOUBLE: Storm Control and Next Destination.
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