Baywing 'in grand fettle' as he bids to follow up Eider romp
Liz Adam Memorial Handicap Chase 3m2f | ITV4/RUK
Yala Enki, Seldom Inn and Baywing, who finished first, second and fourth in this race last year, return to Kelso, with many people likely to fancy Baywing to turn the tables in this £50,000 highlight.
The Nicky Richards-trained stayer, who excels on heavy ground, relished the step up to a marathon trip when destroying West Of The Edge by four lengths in the Eider Chase over four miles at Newcastle in February. Although 9lb higher in the weights after that impressive success, Baywing competes off a mark just 2lb above his rating for this race in 2017, and this thoroughly likeable, classy performer clearly has a big chance despite the drop in distance.
Richards said: “Baywing is in grand fettle. I gave him a little break after Newcastle, and he’s nice, fresh and well. He needs this heavy ground.
“I’ve got him in the Scottish National in a couple of weeks, but the ground at Ayr can dry up so quickly at this time of year that we’ve got to take our chance.”
Can Yala Enki repeat last year's win?
Yala Enki, who stayed on strongly up the hill to beat Seldom Inn by seven lengths last year under the now-retired Liam Treadwell, is now rated 6lb higher.
The eight-year-old lowered the colours of leading Grand National contender Blaklion when romping Haydock’s Grand National Trial by 54 lengths in February for Charlie Deutsch, who is again in the saddle.
Trainer Venetia Williams said: “They have doubled the prize-money since last year and, as a result, it’s a more competitive race than when he won.
“He has got to give plenty of weight to some useful horses, but he goes well in this ground and ran well at Cheltenham last time.”
Has Chic Name got in lightly?
The six-year-old Chic Name ran a blinder in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham last month to finish fifth of 16 to then 150-rated Tiger Roll at level weights.
The handicapper has left his mark unchanged on 130, and trainer Richard Hobson believes Chic Name is the one to beat.
“It was a really good run at Cheltenham and he’s in great order,” Hobson said. “He has a lovely weight and it will take a good horse to beat him on that ground off 10st 1lb with James Bowen’s 3lb allowance.”
Nick Alexander, trainer of Lake View Lad
It’s a big step up in trip but he's won over three miles at Newcastle and will be happy on the ground. I expect him to stay. It’s a £50,000 race and has attracted an excellent field, but hopes are high. He should go very well.
Sandy Thomson, trainer of Seldom Inn and Harry The Viking
Seldom Inn was second in the race last year. Things haven’t quite gone for him so far this season, but he’s in good form and should go very well. Harry The Viking is a star. He didn’t get into the Cross Country at Cheltenham and, in a way, I’ve been forced to run him here. He wouldn’t want the ground any softer.
Sue Smith, trainer of Smooth Stepper and Blakemount
Smooth Stepper is in good form. He's difficult to place these days but is very well in himself. Blakemount has had just the one run this season – at Wetherby last week. He needed that run and will strip fitter this time. He has no weight on his back.
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