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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Jer's Girl not alone as she steps up to three miles for the first time

Jer's Girl: fell when challenging two out in the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March
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2.00 Kempton
OLBG Mares' Hurdle l Listed l 3m½f l 4yo+ | RUK

Jer's Girl is out to become the second Irish-trained winner of this staying contest in which she steps into the unknown territory of an extended three miles for the first time.

The JP McManus-owned mare will be hoping her foray to Britain is better than her last when she fell when challenging two out in the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, eventually won by her old rival Apple's Jade.

Since that mishap, Jer's Girl has won on the Flat at Roscommon before returning to the jumping arena to finish fourth to Jezki in the Grade 3 Istabraq Hurdle over two miles at Tipperary and second behind Apple's Jade over 2m4f at Navan, when she appeared to want further.

Trainer Gavin Cromwell said: "It looked a good opportunity to try her over three miles for the first time and against her own sex, too. She came out of her last run at Navan well and the ground isn't going to be really testing, which will suit."

Jer's Girl is one of three unpenalised runners in the six-strong field but among those with an extra 4lb burden is La Bague Au Roi, trained by Warren Greatrex, who is another going into uncharted territory.

La Bague Au Roi: one of five rivals to Jer's Girl

The six-year-old made a workmanlike return to action to defeat Lady Buttons in a Listed contest at Wetherby this month, but that was over two miles and this will be a different test.

Greatrex said: "She's in good form after Wetherby and we're stepping her right up in trip, but we're pretty hopeful she'll get it.

"She's got good form over two and a half miles from last year and, if she does stay, it would open up few doors for her. She has a little bit to find with Midnight Tour on the ratings but she should be in the shake up."

Also penalised is last year's runner-up Ron's Dream, who picks up her extra burden courtesy of a Listed win at Warwick way back in January.  

Peter Bowen's seven-year-old made a satisfactory return when fourth in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las last month and is also back up in trip.

The trainer said: "We'll keep her to these types of races this season and she'll enjoy going back up in trip as two miles at Ffos Las was a bit short for her. The only drawback is the ground – she could've done with it a bit softer."

Back once more

Another familiar face in the race is Morello Royale, who is making her third appearance having won it in 2015 and finished fourth a year ago.

Trainer Colin Tizzard is returning his seven-year-old to hurdles for the first time since April after three outings over fences this term, the latest when chasing home Strong Pursuit over 2m6½f at Newbury this month.

Midnight Tour: represents Alan King

Alan King relies on the top-rated Midnight Tour, last year's Mares' Hurdle sixth, who is another trying three miles for the first time. The daughter of Midnight Legend made a pleasing return when third at Bangor recently and shapes as if she should handle the extra distance.

Charlie Longsdon is hoping for some black type with his runner Treackle Tart, who has a score to settle with La Bague Au Roi on their running at Huntingdon last season.

The trainer said: "She's a very tough mare who's been flying up the handicap, so it makes sense to have a crack at some black type. I think three of the runners can win it and the others, including our mare, are out for black type."

Brain set to Power round

Another Monday at Kempton, another small field, but thankfully not a match this time as four go to post for the Novices' Chase (1.25).

David Mullins makes one of his rare forays from Ireland to rejoin forces with the classy hurdler Brain Power, who faces his first crack at fences at a venue he won twice at as a novice hurdler.

Brain Power: to be partnered by David Mullins over fences

The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old is rated 19lb clear of nearest rival Winter Escape on BHA ratings for the 2m2f contest and surely only has to get round to collect.

Although the recent matches were criticised by many, punters were on top as both were won by favourites.

Valid case for Vallis

The ex-Irish trained Chirico Vallis may bring a touch of class to the average card at Ludlow after his impressive British debut at Southwell this month.

Neil Mulholland pitches his new recruit into handicap company in the totequadpot Handicap Chase (2.15) and he could take the beating if putting in a clear round.

The five-year-old had little to beat when landing odds of 1-10 in novice company at Southwell and Tom Scudamore is a notable booking for the gelding who started his career in France.

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She's in good form after Wetherby and we're stepping her right up in trip, but we're pretty hopeful she'll get it
E.W. Terms
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