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Overturn - Ascot 19.11.2011

Overturn: landed big prizes on the Flat and over hurdles so far

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

Overturn given Sandown target for chasing debut

OVERTURN will make his first start over fences at Sandown on Saturday according to trainer Donald McCain.

Owned by Tim Leslie, Overturn has proved himself to be one of the most versatile and talented horses in training with wins on the Flat in the Chester Cup and Northumberland Plate and over hurdles in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle and a second in last season's Stan James Champion Hurdle.

The eight-year-old had been scheduled to start over fences at Wetherby last weekend but was prevented by the soft going - which could again stop him running should the ground deteriorate at Sandown, where he is entered in a 2m beginners' chase.

McCain said on Monday: "I am hoping to run him at Sandown on Saturday. However, if the ground is any softer than good to soft then he won't run. Let's hope it doesn't rain too much between now and then.

"I am nervous because he is as good a chaser as I've ever had. It's always nerve-wracking with the good ones."

The going at Sandown was described as good to soft, good in places on Monday with a dry forecast up to Friday when around 6mm of rain could fall.

Raya Star December 17, 2011 Ascot,

Raya Star (left): next destination depends on handicappers reaction

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Raya Star could bypass Racing Post Hurdle

RAYA STAR, a gutsy handicap hurdle winner at Ascot on Saturday and 10-1 to follow up in the Racing Post Hurdle at Cheltenham a week on Sunday, might yet skip the race, according to his trainer.

Alan King expects the six-year-old to be raised 5lb or 6lb for his win when new ratings are released on Tuesday and told his website: "I'd gladly take that for having won a £28,000 plus race, [but] we will digest the handicapper's reaction before making a decision, and Plan B would be to wait a week and run instead in the Grade 2 Coral Hurdle over two and a half miles back at Ascot."

King admitted to some surprise that Raya Star won off top-weight at Ascot but added: "Hopefully, there is a bit more improvement to come. Wayne [Hutchinson, rider] said that he is much more relaxed than he was this time last year and that he felt like a different horse, but we won't make our minds up whether to stay hurdling or go over fences until after his next run."

About Smad Place, who on Saturday was a disappointing third when odds-on to win a Grade 2 at Wetherby, King said: "He seemed fine going into the race, so it is all a bit of a mystery, but we will have him checked over before deciding whether or not to stick with the plan to take on Big Buck's again at the Hennessy meeting at Newbury."

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