Clondaw Westie set for another victory in heavy ground at Fontwell
Clondaw Westie and Atlantic Roller looked likely to hit the big-time in the early parts of their careers and, although they have both re-found their winning form of late, it has come at a reasonably low level.
It is only when you look at the history of Clondaw Westie, who cosily beat the subsequent 138-rated Carter McKay in a point-to-point, and the former Paul Nicholls-trained Atlantic Roller, who beat Gas Line Boy in a novice hurdle, that the thought they could have been much better enters the fray.
However, the pair now face off in what looks a competitive three-runner Class 4 handicap chase over 2m2f (3.40), the feature on Fontwell's Friday card, looking to follow up last-time-out victories.
Lawney Hill, trainer of Clondaw Westie, is indebted to the seven-year-old flying the stable flag with his three chase wins this season but remembers early days with the Irish point-to-point winner.
She said: "He beat Carter McKay and Vinnie Lewis in a point and after getting him I rang Paul Townend to ask what he thought of Carter McKay – he said he was a Grade 1 horse!"
Hill, who only has half a dozen in training, added: "I don't usually run horses this often but he simply loves heavy ground and it's going to go soon.
"He has a lot of weight to carry, going from [a mark of] 94 to 116. He's in a better race at Kempton on Monday but this opportunity looked the better option."
11-year-old Atlantic Roller is the veteran of the trio and, although he boasts some good backform, trainer Chris Gordon had no illusions about his limitations when taking him on.
"He wasn't going to be as good as his mother, Tourist Attraction, who won the Supreme at the Cheltenham Festival," he said.
Gordon also warned: "He had a bad leg infection behind after his last win over course and distance and needed three lots of serious antibiotics and that can take its toll, but he's fit and well and was in great form before the setback."
Le Coeur Net, who completes the field, is on a retrieval mission under Noel Fehily as the partnership was unluckily separated when last at the track when in with every chance.
McCreery bids for second juvenile winner
Willie McCreery, off the mark with his two-year-olds this season when Jungle Jane won the 5f maiden at Dundalk last week, will be bidding to take the opening maiden (6.00) at the track with Tarrzan, another progeny of first-season sire Bungle Inthejungle.
Camacharia finished down the field in that maiden won by Jungle Jane and is the only horse in the seven-runner line-up with a run under her belt.
Of the other debutants, Impulse Power looks to have strong credentials being a son of Dandy Man, who came from the renowned Lynn Lodge Stud.
His trainer, Darren Bunyan, is quietly confident of a bold show from his runner and said: "We like this fella, and we think there’s an engine there alright.
“He’ll probably be better over six furlongs but he shows enough speed to start off over five. We’re hopeful.”
There was a time when Ambassadorial, trained by Michael Halford, was held in very high regard.
The Godolphin-owned gelding has yet to race away from Dundalk, winning his first two starts there as a two-year-old, including a Listed contest, but was beaten on his only start as a three-year-old in last year’s Listed Patton Stakes.
Despite racing off the back of a year’s absence, Ambassadorial, who will be ridden by Colm O’Donoghue for the first time, could potentially be too classy for his 7f handicap (7.30) rivals.
Halford is hoping for a good return performance and said: “He’s been off a long time but he’s shown a great liking for the surface in the past and we’re looking forward to running him.
“He should improve for the run and he has a lot of weight, but he deserves to have it.”
Halford, one of the leading handlers at the track, will be hoping to sign off on yet another successful winter series at Dundalk. He also has Andesh to look forward to in the 7f rated race (7.00).
He said: “He has good form at the track and worked well up there recently. You never know how they progress from two to three but we’re looking forward to running him.”
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