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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Winning machine Alberto's tasked with carrying welter weight in Exeter handicap

Alberto's Dream was in unstoppable form in March, including when winning at Leicester
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The winning machine that is Alberto's Dream will make a little piece of modern turf history on Sunday when seeking to extend his unbeaten run to five races and continue the red-hot form of trainer Tom Lacey.

It is at least 12 years since a horse was allotted more than the 12st 8lb that will be against the name of Alberto's Dream when he runs in Exeter's 3m handicap chase (3.40), in which his actual burden is reduced to 12st 3lb thanks to the 5lb claim of amateur Tommie O'Brien.

The nine-year-old won four races in March, his BHA rating rising from 80 to 115, while the Herefordshire-based Lacey has sent out four winners from six runners in the last fortnight, a record that would have been five from six had Isle Of Ewe not taken a fatal fall at Wetherby's final flight.

Tom Lacey has his string in great heart

"Alberto's Dream came to us a very well-handicapped horse and I think it's just that a change of scenery has given him a new lease of life," said Lacey.

"He won three races in the space of nine days at one point, so he was obviously ahead of the handicapper, but I think the handicapper might now be catching up with him.

"He is a horse who warms to his task in a race, and although he has a big weight to carry I wanted to keep him in this grade for as long as I could."

Lacey is also represented in Exeter's 2m5½f handicap hurdle (4.45), in which Sean Bowen's mount Colt Lightning goes for a hat-trick.

Lacey said: "He went up 4lb while standing in his box, which I think was a bit harsh. However, he has improved and is in rude health, so we're hopeful."

National must wait for Carlisle-bound Knock House

One does not necessarily expect to see a Randox Health Grand National nominee running just six days before the Aintree spectacular, but Knock House sits down in 64th place in the order of entry, meaning he instead tackles Carlisle 3m1f handicap hurdle (4.30) for trainer Donald McCain.

"I'll be taking him out of the National on Monday morning," said McCain, adding: "We'll be spending the next few months trying to get him into next year's race."

Fin And Game is on a four-timer mission at Carlisle

McCain has plenty of what he calls "bits of chances" at Carlisle, where he is hoping ground conditions do not become too testing, not least for Fin And Game, who runs in the 2m1f novice hurdle (3.25) having won his last three starts.

"He is a nice horse and a three-parts brother to Peddlers Cross," said McCain.

"He is still very raw and doesn't look to have been doing an awful lot in front. I'm hoping that's the case, anyway."

Tizzard and Cobden have chance of Exeter double

Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Colin Tizzard and Harry Cobden will team up with The Dutchman in Saturday's Grand National.

Before that they unite at Exeter with Dinos Benefit in the near 2m1f handicap hurdle (2.35) and Silverhow, who runs in the £17,800 novices' handicap chase (3.10).

Colin Tizzard has high hopes with Dinos Benefit and Silvehow at Exeter

Tizzard said: "Dinos Benefit won well for us at Chepstow last time and is on a decent mark. Silverhow has top weight to carry but has earned it."


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He won three races in the space of nine days at one point, so he was obviously ahead of the handicapper
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