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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Grand National-winning trainer could be walking in the Ayr

Lucinda Russell and her team could be in for a good day
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Lucinda Russell has entries in all six races and should have a good day.

Saint Freule (12.40) started his career with an emphatic point win in February and has hinted at ability in two hurdles, firstly a Hexham second in October and then when he faded late after pulling too hard here. He can win a race of this nature if the newly added hood helps him to relax.

Russell can also strike with Celtic Flames (2.55). The seven-year-old spent nearly two years on the sidelines but has steadily improved since making his comeback in September and got off the mark when making his chase debut at Hexham last month. He went up 5lb for that but this longer trip can help him pull out the necessary improvement.

Las Tunas (2.20) took a while to find his best form after joining Mike Smith from France, but he was back to his best in the early part of 2017, particularly when staying on strongly to win here in February. He ended his campaign with another solid effort on unsuitably quick ground at Perth in April and would go close if matching that effort on his first run since a summer holiday.


Cosmeapolitan (1.35) can get back to winning ways in the 1m2f handicap.

Alan King’s charge wasn’t disgraced in his most recent Flat race, finishing third at Bath in August, and he posted another encouraging effort over hurdles ten days ago after a break.

The four-year-old finished last of seven but was beaten only four lengths and looked set to be placed until his lack of match fitness told in the closing stages.

Alsvinder (2.10) looks the one to beat in the valuable 5f handicap. 
David O’Meara’s four-year-old failed to win on turf in the summer, but he is much more effective on artificial surfaces and was never headed at Wolverhampton last time out. 

He has a decent draw and could easily repeat the trick if equally effective on his first start at this venue.

Entertaining Ben (3.15) has won twice since Amy Murphy reapplied cheekpieces and he can complete a hat-trick in the finale.


Grey Destiny (6.20) usually goes well here and another big run looks likely from Antony Brittain’s grey gelding in division one of the 7f handicap.

He often starts slowly but he closed to within a short-head despite a tardy getaway in October and went one better last time out, passing the entire field in the home straight.

A 4lb higher mark shouldn’t stop him in this company and he is taken to beat Gay Kelleway’s recent recruit Ubla.

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He has a decent draw and could easily repeat the trick if equally effective on his first start at this venue
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