Spare Parts bidding for a magnificent seven and a place at finals day
Phil McEntee saddles Spare Parts for the Matchbook Casino Handicap (7.45) at Kempton on Wednesday evening in a bid to put him back in pole position for the £10,000 prize awarded on Good Friday to the all-weather season's winningmost horse.
Spare Parts has won six times since the turn of the year, but since his latest win at Kempton this month has been overtaken by Captain Lars, whose four wins in 16 days for Archie Watson – the last two since Spare Parts' last victory – have taken his total wins this winter to seven.
McEntee reckons Spare Parts has plenty going for him at Kempton, and if successful hopes the four-year-old can make it on to the all-weather finals card next week, where he would be a fitting addition to a star-studded cast.
He said: "Spare Parts is 3lb lower than when he was just beaten over a mile at Kempton last week, and 2lb lower than he'll be from Saturday. He's a two-time course-and-distance winner and has a nice draw, so there's lots in our favour.
"We've got to keep kicking to catch Captain Lars, who is on seven. If we were to win we'd go ahead on countback, as we've more placings than him, and we're a lot more confident here than we were the other day."
He added: "He's also entered on Friday at Kempton, but we'll give that a miss and go to Lingfield on Saturday. Then, should we not win either of his next two races, there's one on Tuesday at Southwell."
McEntee, whose Bernies Boy bids for a fifth win in little more than two months in a 6f handicap half an hour later, added: "What I'd love to do is win at Kempton and then hopefully, with the penalty, get into the £50,000 apprentice handicap on finals day.
"He deserves his place there next week and that would be the icing on the cake. Last year 90 got you in, so it's possible."
Captain Lars, whose wins include two claimers and two sellers, is also entered at Lingfield on Saturday.
Donjuan out to be triumphant
The day's feature race is the £20,000 sunbets.co.uk Handicap (3.40) over seven furlongs at Southwell, in which the Andrew Balding-trained Donjuan Triumphant attempts to take advantage of a significantly lower handicap mark on all-weather surfaces than he has on turf.
He rose to a lofty turf mark of 114 with good wins over six furlongs and seven furlongs at Haydock last year, the second of them off a mark of 109 in the race staged to replace the Ayr Gold Cup, and was not disgraced behind Librisa Breeze in the Group 1 sprint at Ascot on Champions Day.
He pulled hard when last of five in a conditions sprint at Kempton on his reappearance but was not beaten far in a race that did not go his way and could be a different proposition back in handicap company on Fibresand.
The Tony Carroll-trained Mister Music, bidding for a four-timer at Southwell, is up in class and has risen from 71 to 86, but he was rated 100 in his prime, so merits respect.
Hogan's shooting for the heights
There are some small fields over jumps, and conditions will be testing at Haydock and Chepstow.
Haydock offers five-figure prize-money throughout, and four of the runners in a small but select contest for the £16,400 Howdens Joinery Chase (3.15) were winners last time out.
The Jamie Snowden-trained Hogan's Height is much improved of late and bids for a hat-trick in this novice handicap after non-handicap wins over a similar trip at Ludlow and Wetherby.
Hills Of Dubai is also on a three-timer following two wins in bad ground at Ayr, and the 13lb he receives from the topweight could be a big advantage in the prevailing conditions.
The other four can all be given chances too, and Rose Dobbin is entitled to fancy her prospects with Bako De La Saulaie, who has yet to win over fences but has been unlucky to run into two improvers.
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