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Escort'men runs away from the final flight to win the Dovecote novices hurdle Kempton 27.02.2010

Escort'men: winning the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices' Hurdle in 2010

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Middleton hoping hood settles keen Escort'men

GRADE 2 winner Escort'men has his first outing since leaving Paul Nicholls at Plumpton today and the six-year-old's new trainer is hopeful he has learned the secret to switching him off.

Escort'men has been without a victory since October 2010 and last season raced four times, failing to complete twice and beating home a total of just four horses in the other two races.

When he returned in the Elite Hurdle last month he finished six of seven, but after a change of yard new trainer Anthony Middleton hopes to bring about a return to form via the application of a hood.

He said: "We're quite excited about him, he's a decent animal and hopefully he'll win races for us.

"He came with a reputation for being keen in his races and I know he was tried in earplugs last time he ran.

"We've had the hood on him at home and that seems to have settled him really well and he's switched off, so it's the obvious thing to run him in it."

Escort'men is 12-1 for the 2m4f contest (1.10pm). The Philip Hobbs-trained Pateese is narrow favourite from the Paul Nicholls-trained Hawkes Point, both of whom are making their first appearance of the season.

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