Jet Setter: Longsdon chasing third mares' hurdle finale success in four years
Jet Set has got a lot to live up in the feature Finale Grade 2 mares' hurdle at Newbury as she flies the flag for trainer Charlie Longsdon, whose last two contenders have won the EBF & TBA sponsored-novice limited handicap (3.15).
"The race has been good to us," said Longsdon, whose Snow Leopardess last year and Kalane (2015) obliged.
"She was unlucky last time, just getting rolling when falling at the second-last and I think she was going to win.
"The handicapper put her up 2lb so obviously also thought she was going to win, so I hope he's right and this race has been the plan all the way through.
"The race will be run to suit her as she doesn't want to lead, as she had at Sandown, and she has a good each-way chance – there looks to be some interestingly handicapped horses this year."
Lady Of Lamanver has the unusual distinction of being able to run in this novice hurdle despite having been first past the post by a nose in the race two years ago.
That's because the Harry Fry-trained mare lost the then Listed race in the stewards' room, and her trainer said: "The ground might not be ideal but she’s very much ready to run."
She is 10lb higher and has to reverse recent Exeter form with Kalahari Queen, one of two runners for trainer Jamie Snowden.
The trainer said: "She came out of Exeter really well, having been pretty impressive that day.
"She's essentially a three-mile chaser in the making and given what she's done over shorter you'd expect her to improve over further. Two and a half miles around Newbury on testing ground looks the next obvious stepping stone."
Overnight stop for Seeyouatmidnight
Seeyouatmidnight will complete his Randox Health Grand National qualification in the 2m4f Doom Bar Handicap Chase (3.50), with his trainer Sandy Thomson taking no chances with his stable star.
"We're at Newbury and he travelled down well and is settling in," said Thomson on Friday morning.
"I've left him in at Ascot on Sunday as I would kick myself if I didn't have an option if there was a problem on Saturday, but all being well he runs at Newbury.
"He'll come on for the race after all his time off," added the Scottish Borders trainer, with the £1 million Aintree feature the target for the ten-year-old, who has not run for one day short of a year since finishing second in a 3m2f hurdle at Kelso.
In-form Lacey looking to future with bumper newcomer
The Goffs UK Spring Sale bumper (5.00) is the richest race on the card, with nearly £30,000 to the winner, and Harry Fry has his eye on the prize again having won it with Bullionaire last year.
But nobody is in better form than newcomer Dorking Cock's trainer Tom Lacey, having sent out six winners from his last nine runners. He has one earlier runner on the card, Thomas Patrick in the 3m2f handicap chase (2.05).
His bumper newcomer is one of two in the race owned by the Galloping On The South Downs syndicate, whose Jeremy Hinds paid £44,000 for the gelded son of Winged Love at the sponsor's store horse sales.
"He's probably next year's horse and it's not all about this race," said Lacey.
"He's a very nice individual who has been quite challenging mentally but is potentially a very good horse."
Wadham hoping for Shanroe compensation
The heartwarming win of veteran Pete The Feat at Sandown two weeks ago might not have been had Shanroe Santos not stumbled and unseated Leighton Aspell, and his trainer Lucy Wadham gives him the chance to prove that in front of the ITV4 cameras in the Insure With Be Wiser Handicap Chase (2.05).
"Leighton hadn't gone for him and he just brushed the top of the fence and couldn't get his landing gear down," said Wadham. "I think he had a very good chance of winning the race for the second year running.
"He hasn't run at Newbury before but I think the track will suit him, and he didn't really have a race at Sandown."
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