King talking up the chances of Lisp in Victor Ludorum
Lisp is on a hat-trick mission in the opening Betfred TV Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle (1.30) at Haydock to determine whether he's up for a crack at next month's Triumph Hurdle.
The former Flat performer has done all his winning in Sussex until now having scored at Plumpton and Fontwell and was most impressive when landing the odds at the latter venue by seven lengths last time.
Lisp was promoted to a mark of 130 for that victory which puts him on a par with some of the opposition. and trainer Alan King said: "Lisp has won his last two but really wants another run before Cheltenham so that's why he's running at Haydock."
He added: "It will be heavy ground up there but he does seem to handle it and this should tell us if we should be thinking Fred Winter or Triumph."
Also rated 130 and possessing winning form on heavy ground is Mister Chow who overcame some indifferent jumps in the home straight to score at the second attempt over hurdles at Warwick in January when defeating Swaffham Bulbeck who reopposes here.
Another ex-Flat performer, Mister Chow won on the all-weather last year and looks to be on the upgrade. Trainer Gary Moore said: "It’s a tough race. The form of his win has worked out quite well and hopefully he’s got every chance. He has coped with heavy ground quite well so far and let’s hope he copes with it up there."
Nigel Twiston-Davies fields the former Sir Mark Prescott trainee Turning Gold who has three placed efforts to his name so far over obstacles. The trainer said: "Turning Gold is possibly a bit outclassed, but he's a lovely big horse who will handle the heavy ground. He'll definitely run better than last time."
Bob gets blinkers for Pertemps qualifier
Later on at the Merseyside track, Shantou Bob tops the weights for the latest Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Qualifier (3.50) in which he faces ten rivals.
The race looks as competitive as ever and its no surprise that you have to go back eight years to find the last winning favourite.
Shantou Bob is back in familiar territory after a recent trip to Ireland where he appeared, albeit unsuccessfully, at the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival.
Trainer Warren Greatrex said: "Shantou Bob ran no sort of race over in Ireland but the owners were keen to support the festival. It's hard for our horses in their handicaps and we've put the blinkers on him to eek out a bit of improvement. It's competitive as these sort of races usually are."
Nigel Twiston-Davies has two runners in the shape of Arthur's Gift and Splash Of Ginge, the mount of his son Sam. He said of the latter: "He's back over hurdles but has a very good record in Haydock hurdles, having been first and second in his last two starts there. I think he'll run nicely."
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com