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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Busy stayer Swordbill bidding to make it four wins in ten days

The Young Master and Sam Waley-Cohen (near side) on their way to winning the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in 2016
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The two-mile race at Lingfield on Tuesday celebrates a long-running success story in a 25th wedding anniversary, but one runner is bidding to complete one of the quickest four-timers in racing.

Success for Swordbill in the Janice & Arthur Silver Wedding Anniversary Handicap (3.10) would be a fourth in ten days – it took last winter's all-weather sensation Spare Parts 15 days to rack up his four-timer.

Kulbir Sohi, who owns the three-year-old with his brother Tony, is 'hopeful' of a fourth win, with a step back up in trip expected to bring further improvement.

"He did well to win last time off a steady pace over a shorter trip and we hoped to scare off a few more, but it's not as straightforward as previous wins – General Zoff has a big pull at the weights."

That is because Swordbill has a double penalty amounting to 12lb, which gives General Zoff, second to him at Kempton last week, a 10lb pull in the weights for being beaten four lengths, although leading apprentice Jason Watson has been booked to take off 3lb.

Swordbill's trainer Ian Williams hit 50 winners this year on the Flat on Saturday to go with 12 over jumps, as he made it 13 victories in the last 14 days from just 40 runners.

Ian Williams hit 50 Flat winners for the season on Saturday

Sohi, who started with shares in Middleham Park Racing and Nick Bradley Racing, now has 24 horses with his brother.

"Most of them are with Ian, who has been brilliant," he said. "We bought Swordbill unraced out of John Gosden's stables at the horses in training sale last year.

"We had just sold The Statesman for 310,000gns and buying him for 16,000gns was a complete punt, but we thought we'd let the dice roll and bought five other two-year-olds, including Jack Regan, who has been entered over hurdles at Market Rasen on Saturday by Ian.

"He has just let Swordbill grow and it's nice to have a pay-off for the patience and that sales punt – he hasn't gone unbacked either!"

The Young Master back on the Gold trail

Neil Mulholland is looking forward to getting his 2016 bet365 Gold Cup winner The Young Master back on course at Warwick in the Birdie's 2019 Wall & Desk Calendars Handicap Chase (4.40).

"He's in good order," said Mulholland. "The horses are in better form this season than last season and I'm looking forward to getting him back on track. He'll improve for the run."

Mulholland has his eye on Cheltenham races in October and November – and 'hopefully some other big staying chases' – with Sam Waley-Cohen continuing in the saddle after his family bought into Mike Burbidge's chaser.

Mulholland greets The Young Master and Sam Waley-Cohen after their bet365 Gold Cup win

After failing to hit top form last season, The Young Master starts this campaign with his handicap plummeted 18lb from his Sandown-winning mark.

Warwick is hoping to produce good ground all round for its opening meeting, with good to firm in places the official description.

Clerk of the course Jane Hedley said: "We had been watering, but were forecast more than the 5mm of rain we got over the weekend.

"The vast majority of the course is good ground and we're working on the good to firm, which is only from the caravan crossing to the top of the hill." 

Osborne hoping Chelmsford will suit Waqaas

Jamie Osborne is hoping Waqaas can leave his Laytown-winning form behind to show his best in the Irish Lotto At Handicap (7.15), the Chelmsford feature on Tuesday evening.

Waqaas (Lisa O'Neill, orange colours) holds off all-comers to win on the beach at Laytown

Previously trained by Charlie Hills, The Melbourne 10-owned Waqaas was all out to contribute one of their three Laytown wins by a head in the hands of Lisa O'Neill.

Osborne said: "I was delighted he won, but marginally disappointed with how he did it. He works like a horse who would run close to his mark, although he didn't at Laytown so I wouldn't be bullish.

"I think there was an element of rustiness and an element of the beach being a little slick for him in his Laytown run. The trip on a solid surface should suit."

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We bought Swordbill unraced out of John Gosden's stables at the horses in training sale last year
E.W. Terms
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