Speredek bidding to extend winning sequence in Ascot finale
Speredek, a 15-length winner at Exeter on his reappearance nine days ago, makes the trip from Nigel Hawke’s Thorne Farm stables in Devon to Ascot on Friday, where he will bid to extend his already impressive winning sequence to five in the Coutts Handicap Hurdle (3.50).
The versatile six-year-old won three chases on the bounce last season and will be seeking back-to-back wins over hurdles in the £30,000 Ascot finale.
Hawke, best known for his Aintree Grand National victory aboard Seagram in 1991, has sent out ten winners this season and he is hoping the much-improved Speredek and Ciaran Gethings – who was on the mark at Market Rasen on Thursday – will see off 11 rivals.
The trainer said: “Speredek won very well at Exeter and went up 9lb for his win.
"He’s got a 7lb penalty tomorrow so it made sense to let him take his chance. He’ll be going back over fences at some stage but we’re in no rush.”
Speredek is usually a front-runner, although Hawke added: “He doesn’t have to make it but it suits him as he has a great cruising speed. He also gallops and jumps very well.”
Big oul day for Feane
Curragh-based trainer Johnny Feane will have his first runner in France on Friday when Not A Bad Oul Day lines up for the Prix Tantieme (1.35 GMT), a mile Listed event at Saint-Cloud.
A nine-time winner – seven times for Feane, including six handicaps – the five-year-old will be running in stakes company for the first time and is the mount of apprentice Dylan Hogan, who has ridden Not A Bad Oul Day to three of his wins.
Not A Bad Oul Day faces 12 rivals, including three-time Listed winner Maximum Aurelius and dual handicap winner Dolianova, trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre and the mount of Christophe Soumillon.
New venture for O'Brien
Joseph O’Brien will break new ground on Friday when Darkolva, a two-year-old son of Dark Angel, becomes his first runner at Newcastle, the colt set to face three rivals in the 32Red.com Novice Auction Stakes (6.45).
Jimmy Quinn is booked for Darkolva, who has never finished out of the first four in six attempts and who ran third over this seven-furlong trip on his most recent start at Dundalk 16 days ago.
O'Brien said: “Darkolva has been consistent and came out of his last run well.
"It’s a small field and we’re hoping for a big run. He’s rated 81 and that should give him a good chance."
Hat-trick no limit for Skies?
Clear Skies, trained by Aidan O’Brien for JP McManus, will be on a November hat-trick at Dundalk on Friday evening when she carries top weight in the Crowne Plaza Jockey & Trainer Awards Handicap (6.30).
Her two wins have been achieved over this trip of just short of 11 furlongs.
O’Brien said of the Sea The Stars half-sister to Derby winner Motivator: “She’s in good form and has shown she handles the Polytrack surface well. We’re happy with her and we’re hoping she can improve again.”
Ridden by Padraig Beggy and Wayne Lordan on her last two starts, the four-year-old will have the trainer's son Donnacha on board in the 14-runner event.
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