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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Five things to watch out for on Wednesday

Tha'ir (Frankie Dettori) wins the 2012 Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in a former life with Saeed Bin Suroor
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Royal Ascot winner Tha'ir back in form

It’s a measure of how long Tha’ir has been around that Frankie Dettori was in the saddle for Godolphin when he landed the 2012 Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot as a two-year-old.

In subsequent seasons jockeys as diverse as James Doyle, Mickael Barzalona, Silvestre de Sousa and Stephane Pasquier all won on him for Saeed Bin Suroor at tracks as distant as Meydan and Veliefendi, the latter success coming in what is termed a ‘local’ Group 2 at Turkey’s big international meeting.

Rated in the low 100s for most of his career, Tha’ir’s life now is a world away from what it once was. However, while not the force of old, he has found his level again and landed quite a gamble when scoring his first win for Mick Appleby in convincing fashion at Wolverhampton last time.

Tha’ir returns to the same course and distance for the Betway Live Casino Handicap (7.55) and a 3lb higher mark of 79 might not stop him following up, even though he faces several in-form rivals.

Appleby is hopeful and said: “He’s come out of that race really well and I think getting his head in front again will do a lot for his confidence. He’s in good order and should go very close.”

Right Touch bids for all-weather first

Multiple turf winner Right Touch bids for a first success on the all-weather when he takes on 11 rivals in the Bet & Watch At Handicap at Wolverhampton (6.25), which is technically the feature Flat race on a day when jumps racing might struggle to beat the elements.

A seven-time winner on turf off marks as high as 95, Richard Fahey's eight-year-old has had six tries on artificial surfaces without success. However, he was beaten only by a well-treated rival when second to Shyron at Lingfield in December, and last month's effort at the same track was also very respectable.

David O'Meara saddles two of Right Touch's main rivals, but while Exchequer has run three good races on similar surfaces since joining the stable, including one over course and distance, Mujassam might prefer Southwell's Fibresand, a remark that also applies to John Mackie's six-time course winner Custard The Dragon.

Captain has strong chance – Watson

Wednesday afternoon’s all-weather card at Chelmsford is an additional fixture, put on as a result of quick thinking at the BHA with the co-operation of a team accustomed to stepping in at short notice.

The feature toteswinger Two In The First Three Handicap (4.00) provides a great opportunity for Archie Watson to recoup more than £5,700 of the £7,000 he forked out when claiming Captain Lars from Derek Shaw only last Friday following his second in a 7f Lingfield claimer.

Watson, who applies first-time blinkers, said: “Obviously this race didn’t exist when we claimed him, but it looks a good opportunity and he hopefully has a strong chance.

“He’s a lovely, big horse who will be leading the two-year-olds at home, but he’s very versatile with regards trip and company and hopefully he can win a couple of races before the end of the all-weather season.”."

Ludlow feature well worth winning

Ludlow looks to offer the best chance of jump racing going ahead, and connections of all ten runners in the £15,000 Attwood Memorial Trophy Handicap Chase (3.15) will be keen that it does as it's a prize well worth winning.

Kerry Lee's Town Parks is at the top of his form and bids for a hat-trick under a 7lb penalty for last week's Hereford success, but Vivaccio takes the eye much lower down the weights.

Venetia Williams' nine-year-old shapes as if he is ready for this longer trip and has gained both wins since arriving from France at Ludlow in the hands of Aidan Coleman, who is again on board.

Frankel at Fairyhouse

Should Fairyhouse pass a 7.30am inspection there will be no shortage of interesting runners, including Commentariolus, a Frankel gelding who tackles the opening 2m maiden hurdle (1.45).

Commentariolus will become the first son of Frankel to embark on a hurdling career in Ireland. So far the only other horse by Frankel to go jumping is Solo Saxophone, unbeaten in two starts in Britain for Dan Skelton.

Commentariolus didn't manage to reach the frame in four Flat starts in France, his best effort coming when fourth in a 1m6½f maiden at Clairefontaine last June.

His trainer Gordon Elliott also saddles Park Paddocks, who wears a hood for the first time and has a recent hurdling outing under his belt.

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He's come out of that race really well and I think that getting his head in front again will do a lot for his confidence. He should go very close
E.W. Terms
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