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Monday, 10 December, 2018

No alarm bells this time as Fire Brigade bids to get back on track after Lincoln

Fire Brigade: well beaten in the Lincoln but drier ground should be more in his favour
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Fire Brigade, the horse who had bookmakers running for cover before last month’s Lincoln at Doncaster, bids to get his season back on track in one of two big-field handicaps on the opening day of Newmarket’s three-day Craven meeting.

The subject of some positive bulletins from connections, coupled with the booking of Ryan Moore, meant Fire Brigade was the name on everyone's lips before the Lincoln but he failed to ignite under soggy conditions in South Yorkshire.

Ground less testing for the mile handicap (4.10) is expected to be more in his favour on Tuesday, although there does not appear to be the same confidence before his second start as there was last month.

“The ground was desperate at Doncaster and he probably got caught out on the fitness side as much as anything,” said trainer Michael Bell. "He'd have needed about two stone less to have beaten Addeybb but he’s a stuffy horse and probably needed it. 

"He’s been in good form since, but on the evidence of Doncaster his handicap mark of 98 may prove difficult. He’s had a run now, has won at the track and this race will be very informative.”

Fire Brigade heads the weights under Jamie Spencer, with a bumper field of 19 declared.

Peckham's Inshiraah on road to recovery

Bell’s Newmarket neighbour George Peckham is hoping Inshiraah can start off on the Rowley Mile how she ended last season on the July course as she returns from a lengthy absence in the 16-runner 7f handicap (5.20).

Her six-race career so far consists of three wins and three thirds from six runs, including two wins over this trip on the July course.

“She finished on a high last year on the track but unfortunately met with a little setback at the backend and everybody has worked very hard with her,” said Peckham.

“She seems back in good form and has done very well for the winter. We'd planned to start back in the Snowdrop Stakes at Kempton but she had a little bruised foot before that and had to miss it."

Peckham, who trains a stone's throw from the track on Newmarket's Hamilton Road, added: “This isn't the ideal place to start her back against some older, hardened handicappers but she’s ready to run.

"There’s a Listed race at Longchamp on May 6 and hopefully this will be a step to getting some black-type when we get there.”

Purser out to boost Gronkowski form

Purser (right): sets the standard in the 7f conditions stakes
Purser, Group 3-placed last season and fourth to Kentucky Derby-bound Gronkowski on his return to action at Newcastle on Good Friday, sets the standard in the bet365-backed 7f conditions stakes (3.35).

Although he carries a penalty against four unexposed rivals, he is the only runner in the field with race fitness on his side.  

He’s back in trip and has to carry a penalty but the race needs supporting as there are only a few runners,” said trainer John Gosden. “Hopefully the ground has dried out."

Stormbringer is among the opposition and one of five runners on the card for Kevin Ryan’s stable in North Yorkshire. Last seen finishing seventh in the Gimcrack Stakes at York, he will be having just his fourth start.

The trainer's son and assistant Adam Ryan said: "He ran well for a long way in the Gimcrack and acts on softer ground. We think the step up to seven furlongs is going to suit him."

Aurum ready to run for Appleby after slight setbacks

Charlie Appleby runs English and Irish 2,000 Guineas entry Symbolization in the conditions stakes and is also looking forward to getting Amadeus Wolf's half-brother Aurum on the course in division one of the Alex Scott maiden (1.50).

Appleby knows the family well, having trained his brother Rouleau to win the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton and finish second in the UAE 2,000 Guineas.

"He's a big, strong good-looking individual who had a few minor setbacks as a two-year-old,” said Appleby. “Given his physique as well, we gave him time and he'd ideally want a sounder surface, but he could hopefully be a player in his maiden."

Charlie Appleby: runs English and Irish 2,000 Guineas entry Symbolization in the conditions stakes

Major Jumbo out to continue massive rise 

Major Jumbo, who contests the concluding sprint handicap (5.55), could be a four-year-old to follow this year after improving 22lb through his nine races in 2017 and ending with an impressive win at York in September.

Ryan junior, who confirmed Prix de l'Abbaye winner Brando is ready to defend his Abernant win of last year on Thursday, added: "Major Jumbo is an improving sprinter who was ultra-consistent last year and we're looking forward to running him in the big handicaps over five and six furlongs."

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He’s been in good form since but on the evidence of Doncaster, his handicap mark of 98 may prove difficult
E.W. Terms
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