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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Honeyball two-handed as he bids for Devon National glory with Breeze and Act

Anthony Honeyball: has two chances of Devon National success
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Anthony Honeyball heads to Exeter with two chances of landing the Higos Insurance Services Devon National Handicap Chase as he saddles both Cresswell Breeze and Act Now in the gruelling 3m 6½f feature (4.50).

Having landed the Southern National at Fontwell earlier this term, Honeyball is hopeful Cresswell Breeze can score again and has booked 7lb claimer James Nixon to partner the mare in a bid to ease her weight burden.

The trainer said: “James is very good value for his 7lbs and taking that off the mare has to help her chances in a very open looking race. She has experience in this type of contest having won a similar event at Fontwell back in November.

“We have been happy enough with her at home and she has avoided running on the very heavy conditions of late so she comes into the race a relatively fresh horse and with the ground drying out a fraction, she has plenty going for her.”

Cresswell Breeze: (right): runs in the Devon National Handicap Chase at Exeter on Friday
However, Honeyball was quick to stress that Act Now was not without a chance in the race as well and Aidan Coleman is in the saddle.

“She may be a little bit inexperienced as this will be only her second run over fences," he said. 

“She shaped like a stayer when chasing home Leo Luna at Plumpton last month so I don’t think the extra trip will be a bother. We have decided to fit her with cheekpieces for the first time in the hope it helps focus her concentration.”

Back from a break

Gingili returns from a winter break and represents trainer Johnny Farrelly, who has made a very good start to the year. He is confident the eight-year-old will have no problem with the step up in trip.

He said: “We have sent him out hunting three or four times which seems to have the desired effect as he is is fresh and well at home and looks on really good terms with himself. He has always looked like he will stay so we will find out in this race.

“He has not raced since scoring a 20-1 surprise at the course in October and we did not want to run him on the bad ground but now it has dried out a bit he can take his chance. Noel Fehily gets on well with the horse so he takes the ride again.”

Jonjo O’Neill’s Spookydooky finished third in the race 12 months ago and bids to go two places better this time around. He said: “He has come on a bit for his first run back at Hereford and I think Exeter’s more galloping track will suit. He was third last year and we want to be first this year – that’s the hope anyway.”

English hoping the door will open for Red Avenger

A field of eight course winners will line up for the mile Print Express Handicap (6.30) at Dundalk with Damian English hoping that his Red Avenger, a narrow third over the course and distance a fortnight ago, will be able to notch his fourth win at the track.

He said: "Red Avenger has been in brilliant form. He's knocking hard on the door and hopefully it will open for him soon. I couldn't be happier with him."

Reckless Lad got the better of Red Avenger last time, but Pat Martin's charge is 4lb worse off with that rival in this and races from 1lb out of the handicap.

Red Avenger: looks to to notch his fourth win at Dundalk

Sheila Lavery's Another Story is very interesting given that she is unbeaten in all three visits to the track while Michael Halford's Russian Soul will be bidding for his 12th career win.

The field is completed by topweight Elleval, Aussie Valentine making his debut for Ado McGuinness, the Richard O'Brien-trained Beach Bar and recent course winner John Ess.

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she comes into the race a relatively fresh horse and with the ground drying out a fraction, she has plenty going for her
E.W. Terms
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