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Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Bank holiday bonanza: key punting pointers on an action-packed day of racing

Richard Hannon: hopeful Neverland Rock can win Ripon Listed contest
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Hannon: Rock can continue climb to top

Richard Hannon is hoping smart juvenile Neverland Rock can return to winning ways when he lines up in what is a quality field for Ripon's Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy (4.00).

The Listed sprint featured subsequent Guineas runner-up Tip Two Win last year and looks one of the best editions in recent years.

Neverland Rock lost his maiden status on his second attempt before finishing third in the Superlative Stakes and sixth, when hanging, in the Richmond at Glorious Goodwood.

Neverland Rock (white) no match for Quorto (blue) in the Superlative Stakes on his penultimate start

Hannon said: "I think he's got a good chance, he's in good form going there and we're happy with him.

"He ran a good race the time before last. It seems a hotter renewal than normal, but I'd hope it's a race we can win with him as he continues going up the ladder."

John Gosden will be out to continue his exceptional run of form as Kessaar bids for a second success – the juvenile was an emphatic ten-length winner at Windsor last time.

The Richard Hughes-trained Sunsprite seeks a fourth successive win, while Life Of Riley and Sporting Chance drop down from Group level.

Waarif still improving says O'Meara

Waarif has improved 16lb on ratings since joining David O'Meara from Ireland, but there could be more to come as he bids to follow up a course-and-distance victory in the Ripon Rowels Handicap (4.35).

Waarif (blue) won at Ripon eight days ago

The five-year-old has been raised 3lb following his neck success eight days ago, and O'Meara said: "Waarif won nicely at Ripon last time and he really likes the track. He's gone up 3lb but I'd like to think he's still improving."

McCain and Snowden seek repeat successes at Cartmel

Two 3m1½f handicaps – one chase (3.50), one hurdle (5.00) – feature on a good bank holiday card at Cartmel, with the Jamie Snowden-trained Fact Of The Matter bidding to land back-to-back victories in the former.

The eight-year-old is off the same mark as when scoring by three-quarters of a length in Cumbria last August, but has been well beaten in two starts this season.

Jamie Snowden: Saddles Fact Of The Matter at Cartmel

Snowden said: "He won this race last year off the same mark so it was always the plan to come back here.

"He probably hasn't been in quite the same form this season but he's got blinkers on, which should sharpen him up. He probably doesn't want too much rain but we're looking forward to it and hoping for a big run."

Donald McCain, meanwhile, has two runners in the feature staying hurdle, which the trainer won last year with Tawseef.

McCain is this time represented by Volcanic, who fell when leading last time, and recent course winner William Of Orange.

William Of Orange: Hoping to make it back-to-back wins at Cartmel

McCain said: "They're both very effective around Cartmel, but the ground would be a little bit of a concern. William Of Orange won well last time, and Volcanic was really unlucky."

McCain also saddles Ormesher, an impressive nine-length winner on his only previous start over hurdles, in the juvenile hurdle (2.40).

"He's coped with slow ground so if the rain comes it won't bother him too much," said McCain. "He won well last time and hasn't done anything wrong."

Two out of three ain't bad for Jo Hughes

The fillies' novice auction stakes (3.10) at Chepstow may not be a race of the day, but Jo Hughes will be interested as she is responsible for two of the three runners.

Chepstow: Stages racing on Bank Holiday Monday

However, Holy Macaroni and Judy Be Careful were beaten a long way on their debuts, and they face a tough rival in Canavese, who ran a respectable race when second to Concello, who has won again since.

Hughes said: "There's a bit of pressure on me with two runners of three, but it was too good an opportunity to miss with just one other runner in there.

"Holy Macaroni ran only the other day. We weren't thinking of declaring her but with so few horses in there it's a good chance. They're both in good form."

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He's gone up 3lb but I'd like to think he's still improving and hopefully he can go well
E.W. Terms
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