Overturn: ground needs to dry further if he's to take his chance at BangorPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Bangor still an option for Arkle hope Overturn
DONALD McCAIN is keeping a close eye on the weather before committing exciting novice chaser Overturn to the Deepbridge Capital Novices' Chase at Bangor on Friday.
McCain walked the course on Wednesday and said it was 50-50 that the Champion Hurdle runner-up would take his chance in the 2m1½f contest.
"The ground is a bit slower than ideal but we've still got a couple of days and it's very much 50-50," the trainer told At The Races on Wednesday.
He added: "There's rain coming along on Friday and I would like it faster at the moment. The world's his oyster and we're aiming him at the Arkle."
The ground at Bangor is currently soft, frozen in places but a milder band of air is expected on Thursday.
McCain also revealed that Peddlers Cross had been in action on the gallops earlier in the day and is looking at targets in the new year.
He said: "He's not quite ready yet but there's a possibility he could go to Cheltenham on New Year's Day but he will tell us when he's ready. We know where we want him for the spring and he's worked great this morning."
The Grand National-winning trainer also had news on Cinders And Ashes, with a trip to Kempton over Christmas at the top of his agenda, although he still holds an entry in Leopardstown's Istabraq Festival Hurdle on December 29.
"You'd expect to get the best ground at Kempton [for the Christmas Hurdle] but we've got to keep everything open for him," said McCain.
Emma Lavelle: hoping the weather stays dry for her Ascot contenderPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Lavelle confirms Claret Cloak for the Ladbroke
EMMA LAVELLE is hopeful Claret Cloak can reverse Ascot form with top weight and last year's winner Raya Star in the Listed Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle on Saturday, December 22.
Beaten two lengths by the Alan King-trained six-year-old at the same course in November, Claret Cloak has a 3lb pull at the weights and is still improving according to his trainer.
Lavelle said: "The Ladbroke is definitely the target for Claret Cloak but the ground is the crucial thing with him and we are hoping it stays dry.
"He has been in great form since Ascot and seems in really good condition. I was chuffed to bits with his first run and he has definitely come on a little bit.
"There is no doubt that the better the ground, the better he will perform so if we got good ground at Ascot we would be delighted.
"I think they will go a furious pace in The Ladbroke and that will suit him because he has a very high cruising speed. I think 136 is a workable mark as he's only a baby and is still improving physically - I think he is getting better."
Grumeti: exciting hurdler is likely to return to action in JanuaryPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
King looks to new year start for exciting Grumeti
TRAINER Alan King has admitted defeat in the race against time to get smart hurdler Grumeti ready for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on December 26.
Grumeti reversed form on JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Countrywide Flame at Aintree and that rival has since confirmed himself a Champion Hurdle contender with an impressive success in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
Max McNeill's star went on to have a couple of runs on the Flat in late spring but is behind some of his stablemates on a return to jumping.
"Grumeti had that summer hiccup, but he has made phenomenal progress this past month," the trainer said on his website.
"However, the clock is ticking too fast to enable us to make the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day, so we will look for one race somewhere in January before taking in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton en-route to the Champion."