Audacious Plan 'in great nick' for Durham National bid
Racing App Sedgefielders Durham National Handicap Chase | 3m5f | 5yo+ | ATR
Richard Newland, twice successful in this race in recent years with Royale Knight (2014 and 2015), has high hopes of landing the £30,000 prize again courtesy of Audacious Plan.
Still relatively unexposed for the yard having raced twice since joining from Rebecca Curtis, the eight-year-old finished a close second to Lunar Flow over fences at Uttoxeter last month prior to romping home in a Huntingdon staying handicap hurdle.
Although raised 4lb for that Uttoxeter near-miss, Audacious Plan did pull 30 lengths clear of the rest, and he is expected to be suited by the step back up to marathon trips on good ground.
“Audacious Plan is in great nick,” Newland said. “I’m very pleased with him. He won nicely over hurdles at Huntingdon and likes the ground. He has form over this sort of trip, and hopefully he’ll run well.
“I’d have liked to have run Royale Knight in the race, but the ground is too fast for him.”
Last year’s winner Buachaill Alainn defends his title off a 2lb higher mark, having shown that he retains all his ability when runner-up to the younger Sonneofpresenting at Worcester in August.
Buachaill Alainn stayed on strongly under Sean Bowen to beat Five In A Row by seven lengths in the race 12 months ago, and the rider said: “The trip suits and he likes a sharp track. I don’t see why he can’t win it again. He’d still have won with an extra 2lb on his back last year, and goes there in good form.”
Teenager Russian Regent, who will be partnered by Harry Skelton, represents Gordon Elliott, while 12-year-old Carrigdhoun has dropped 2lb in the weights since running well for a long way in the Carlisle staying chase won by Courtown Oscar last Thursday.
Boric and Mister Don, who were separated by just half a length at the end of Perth’s 3m7f when finishing first and second in the Highland National in April, renew rivalry.
Both finished second on their latest starts and appear to have been primed for a tilt at this contest.
Promising Run likely to strip fitter
Promising Run, winner of the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket as a two-year-old, has failed to scale the heights which looked likely immediately after that success, but she looks to have fair claims in Lingfield’s Listed 32Red EBF Stallions Fleur De Lys Fillies’ Stakes (1.20).
The Saeed Bin Suroor-trained four-year-old is likely to have improved fitness-wise for her fourth in a Goodwood Listed event in September, where she ran well for a long way behind Monarchs Glen.
Melodic Motion may foil Fabre raid
Andre Fabre sends Val De Marne to Lingfield for the Listed 32Red EBF Stallions River Eden Fillies’ Stakes (2.25), but the daughter of Invincible Spirit may need a career-best performance to topple Ralph Beckett’s Melodic Motion.
Runner-up to stablemate Alyssa in Doncaster’s Group 2 Park Hill Stakes last time, she sets a pretty high standard for the others to aim at, and there is every chance Melodic Motion remains open to further improvement.
Ballyoptic makes chasing debut at Stratford
Ballyoptic, who spent much of last season tackling Grade 1 staying hurdles, makes his debut over fences in Stratford’s four-runner Charlotte Cole Memorial Novices’ Chase (3.50).
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained seven-year-old, a Grade 1 winner at Aintree in April 2016, was pulled up behind Nichols Canyon in the Stayers’ Hurdle before finishing fifth to Yanworth in the Liverpool Hurdle last spring.
"He did well over hurdles, but I think we found he wasn't quite that three-mile hurdle class, so we'll try chasing and he's been schooling really well," Twiston-Davies said.