TIPS: Progressive performance should be good enough
Progressive can live up to her name by doubling her tally and staying unbeaten over jumps in the Sky Bet Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster.
Nicky Henderson’s four-year-old returns to the scene of her impressive hurdling debut, having won with authority over course and distance.
Progressive, previously useful in a brief Flat career which yielded one victory in four attempts for Roger Varian last summer and autumn, encountered heavy ground as well as hurdles for the first time last month.
She handled the former well, and jumped proficiently too when necessary – although that requirement was limited, because three flights in the home straight were omitted.
There was nonetheless enough initial evidence to suggest she could be well up to this Listed level, and clearly forecast soft conditions are no detriment to her chances.
Ibleo is another who arrives on Town Moor with a recent victory under his belt, and he will be hard to stop despite top-weight in the Sky Bet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Chase.
Venetia Williams has seen fit to enter the eight-year-old in both the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, following his success in a decent Sandown handicap early in the new year.
Ibleo took a while to gather his winning momentum there, but was well on top at the line and appears to be a strong-staying two-miler who may well benefit from a step up in trip at some point.
This race appears tailor-made, however, at a galloping course which will allow him to get involved from off the pace up the long home straight.
Testing conditions suit him too, and his form this season has a rock-solid look to it, because he gave big improvers Sky Pirate and Amoola Gold a race as an admirable runner-up on each occasion before seeing off several good yardsticks last time.
Sam Barton is another of interest earlier on the card, in the Sporting Life EBF “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle.
Emma Lavelle’s six-year-old is back from a short break here, having lost a shoe at Hereford in November when a beaten favourite in second behind a shock but subsequent winner.
He had another previous winner behind him in third, having begun his hurdling career by finishing fifth at Chepstow behind the highly-promising Grade Two scorer Star Gate.
Sam Barton has the credentials to win a maiden hurdle with ease.
Fleur Irlandaise is on the hat-trick trail in the Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton.
Nick Littmonden’s filly struck winning form on her return to the all-weather last month – scoring by a neck over course and distance, having previously run consistently, but largely out of the money, over hurdles of late.
She prevailed again here, over two furlongs shorter three weeks ago.
Fleur Irlandaise has been rewarded, back up to this extended two miles, with a collateral rise of just 8lb for her two victories – and with Joe Fanning on board again, she could well be up to the job.
At Lingfield, Hundon can prove adept back down to the minimum trip in the Get Your Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boost Handicap.
Robyn Brisland’s colt appeared invigorated by the application of cheekpieces last time at this track, but did not quite see out the six furlongs.
He was still beaten only a length into third – and reverting to five furlongs for the first time since his debut last summer, a winning plan can fall into place.
The assistance of Laura Pearson has been a huge advantage to many in recent months, and Crimewave can be next to benefit in the Betway Handicap.
Tom Clover’s five-year-old has been running well of late but has been unable to get home in front.
In the absence of any direct leeway from the handicapper, the 5lb allowance claimed by talented apprentice Pearson may do the trick.
There will be no such concession for Tamborrada in the Ladbrokes Watch Racing Online For Free Novice Stakes, but the likelihood is that Charlie Appleby’s gelding will be able to follow up his debut success anyway.
Tamborrada is penalised, of course, for his neck victory over this course and distance at the start of the month.
He faces a far from insurmountable task to make it two from two, though.
Back over jumps, Happy Diva has much in her favour as she bids to regain her crown in the Pertemps Lady Protectress Mares’ Chase at Huntingdon.
Kerry Lee’s admirably consistent 10-year-old took this Listed prize in 2019 and is 7lb higher in the ratings than she was then, so this looks an obvious opportunity over her ideal trip.
00 Brianstorm, 1.
32 Sam Barton, 2.
05 Ibleo, 2.
37 PROGRESSIVE (NAP), 3.
10 Jack Sharp, 3.
45 Donladd, 4.
17 Uisce Ur.
00 Harry’s Hill, 4.
30 Point Reyes, 5.
00 Emphatic, 5.
30 Hala Joud, 6.
00 Samaritaine, 6.
30 War Hero, 7.
00 Sunset Nova, 7.
30 Lady Andaz.
10 Quinta Do Mar, 1.
40 Jackson Hill, 2.
15 Sexy Lot, 2.
45 Happy Diva, 3.
20 Dhowin, 3.
55 Mr Palmtree, 4.
15 Shecando, 12.
45 Heptathlete, 1.
20 Colorando, 1.
50 Hundon, 2.
25 Capla Spirit, 2.
55 Crimewave, 3.
30 Tamborrada, 4.
05 Cafe Milano.
20 Riviere D’etel, 12.
50 Folcano, 1.
25 Gars De Sceaux, 1.
55 Wolf Prince, 2.
30 Satin Sun, 3.
00 The Big Dog, 3.
35 Johnnys Girl, 4.
10 The Bandit.
45 Save The Spirit, 5.
15 New Look, 5.
45 Fleur Irlandaise, 6.
15 Lightning Lou, 6.
45 Spirit Level, 7.
15 The Bay Warrior, 7.
45 Contingency Fee, 8.15 Rayyan.
DOUBLE: Progressive and Fleur Irlandaise.
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