Previously progressive Javert back on track after lengthy absence
When last seen in May 2016, Javert was shaping up to be a potentially useful chaser after winning a valuable prize at Haydock.
Injury intervened, but now the nine-year-old is ready for his first start in 869 days when taking in the highlight at Uttoxeter, the Moorland Contract Cleaning RA Bridgwater Memorial Handicap Chase (3.50).
Explaining Javert's absence, trainer Emma Lavelle said on Saturday: "He was very impressive when he won at Haydock, but it was on quickish ground and unfortunately he paid the price for it, got a leg and it has taken a bit of time to get him back."
Prior to his setback, Javert won three of his five starts over fences, and with only eight career starts retains the scope to progress.
"He's a big horse and I don't think the time off will have done him any harm," Lavelle added.
"I'm really looking forward to running him and fitness-wise he's done plenty. He's loving being back in training and it would be great if he can reward the patience of his team."
Haggas and Varian on the hunt at Hamilton
It is a long jaunt from Newmarket to Hamilton, but that has not deterred Roger Varian and William Haggas from sending a runner apiece to the Lanarkshire track to contest the 1m½f Always Trying Novice Stakes (3.35).
The two trainers have good records with their three-year-olds here, with Varian operating at a 22 per cent strike-rate (two from nine) while Haggas has a 33 per cent strike-rate (three from nine).
Varian's runner, Jamil, has to concede weight all round having won on debut at Salisbury last season, while for Haggas, Cloudlam was fourth on debut at Chelmsford earlier in the month. That form has been boosted with the second and third successful since.
Charm gearing up for American assignment in Navan feature
For many, the opening chapters of the jumps season proper are written at Navan and a surprise 33-1 Cheltenham Festival winner is the main attraction in the 2m6f hurdle (3.40), the feature race of the opening jumps fixture of the campaign at the track.
Veneer Of Charm, winner of last year's Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle, returned to action at Listowel when eighth in the Lartigue Hurdle, and is understood to be charting a path towards an American assignment next month.
“He returned at Listowel last week and we’re thinking about sending him over to America for a hurdle race next month,” said trainer Gordon Elliott.
Noel Meade won this contest last year with Moulin A Vent for long-standing owner Patricia Hunt and the same connections are represented by Major Destination here.
The Shay Barry-trained Smitty Bacall, pulled up after making a bad mistake last time at Listowel, and the Jessica Harrington-trained Madison To Monroe are other interesting types in the eight-runner contest.
Second leg of the Corinthian Challenge at Navan
Not only does Elliott have the trump card in the Navan feature with Veneer Of Charm, but he could also be smiling after the Corinthian Challenge Charity Race (5.45), in which he has three runners.
Run in aid of the Irish Injured Jockeys, the Corinthian Challenge features 14 riders taking part in a three-race series, with Elliott running Presenting Julio, Brutal and Stooshie, as well as having reserves Water Sprite and Miro engaged.
The success of this venture is advertised by the fact that last year’s riders raised more than €110,000 for the charity and many other top trainers, including Noel Meade, Joseph O’Brien and Johnny Murtagh, have supported the concept.
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