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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Christian Williams eager to make most of Denis O'Regan partnership

Christian Williams: supplies Denis O'Regan with four rides at Taunton
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Denis O'Regan, who moved back to Ireland in 2016 to become owner Barry Connell's main rider, travels to Taunton for five rides, four of which come for Christian Williams, who hopes his link-up with the jockey can flourish when opportunities allow.

O'Regan, who has also picked up a ride for Charlie Mann, perhaps has Youngoconnor (2.20) and Court Frontier (4.30) to look forward to most.

"I just want to get a bit more fluency with Denis when he's not riding for Barry," said Williams on Sunday.

"Youngoconnor should have improved a good bit from her first run. We haven't had her too long, but she's a nice mare who will handle the ground well, while Court Frontier should also have a good chance if he doesn't find the track too sharp.

"Dawson City finished just in front of him at Wincanton last time and he's gone on to win the Devon National and run well at Newbury yesterday.

"I had Court Frontier scoped the other day and the vet thought he was slipping his palate so I've put a tongue-tie on, which might help him a bit as well."

Davison out to end Huntingdon hoodoo

Sussex trainer Zoe Davison, who is enjoying her best season so far, hopes Kilinakin (3.05) and Brother Bennett (4.40) can maintain the run, but warned Huntingdon has not been a happy hunting ground for her.

Davison has had 11 winners from just 45 runners this term, but is 0-49 at Huntingdon.

She said: "I was really pleased with Kilinakin at Leicester last time, but this is a more competitive race. The ground and track should suit, so we'll see what he's made of, but I have to say it's not been my luckiest course – I hate the place! I never have any luck there, but it's the right race on paper for him.

"Brother Bennett's had a wind op and I generally find they just need one run to get their confidence back and it's a nice, small field, while the track and ground should also suit." 

First-class chance for emerging Drift

Ben Case: could aim First Drift for a bigger target

The seven-year-old First Drift is making up for lost time and a positive show in Market Rasen's opener at 2.10 could provide a springboard for something fancier.

Owned by Carolyn Kendrick, whose son Max will ride, First Drift won at Doncaster last month and followed up in style over course and distance two weeks ago.

Trainer Ben Case said: "He's a nice horse. He won a point-to-point and two bumpers for me but then had some time off. It's taken him a couple of runs to get warmed up, but he seems to be improving and he didn't have too much of a hard time in his last two races.

"Effectively this is his first season hurdling and I wanted to get the experience into him. This race cut up. He still has to beat Dan Skelton's horse [Or De Vassy] but it looks a good opportunity. Let's see how he goes and we can then look at something bigger."

Missus makes comeback

The Missus returns after an absence of 682 days in Taunton's 3.55 and has claims under champion jockey Richard Johnson.

A homebred of the Waley-Cohen family, the daughter of Presenting was last seen finishing second from a mark of 111 in a handicap hurdle at Aintree in May 2016.

She has been dropped 3lb since and trainer Warren Greatrex, who has supplied Johnson with 20 winners this season at a 24 per cent strike-rate, said: "She'd have a chance if the ground is not too soft."

Six of the best for Andrews

Conditional Bridget Andrews, who followed her County Hurdle success at the Cheltenham Festival with victory in the Grade 2 mares' hurdle at Newbury on Saturday, remains in the spotlight with six rides at Market Rasen.

They all come for Dan Skelton, whose jockey brother Harry – also Andrews' boyfriend – is on the sidelines due to injury.

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Youngoconnor should have improved a good bit from her first run. We haven't had her too long, but she's a nice mare
E.W. Terms
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