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Lancashire Telegraph racing column
7:00am Wednesday 18th December 2013 in Sport
Ifrika has not done a lot wrong in her three starts to date and has a good opportunity to get off the mark in the 32Red.com/British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield.
Clive Brittain’s juvenile was spotted making late progress when fourth on her racecourse introduction on the Lingfield turf in June and hindsight tells us that was a fair effort, with the winner Double Point ending up with a three-figure rating and the runner-up, Cockney Bob, going on to win no less than five races.
Ifrika performed even better when fourth again in a typically warm Newmarket maiden three months later, with the subsequent victory of the second home Baarez again giving the form a solid look.
The youngster’s latest effort when third of five in a conditions race here was another decent effort and given that was her first appearance in a couple of months, she should strip fitter and there is scope for further progress.
Credit must go to all involved for saving the Compare Bookmakers At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap, a race which was due to be staged last week until heavy fog forced the meeting to be abandoned.
Twelve quality sprinters are due to go to post, with Hoof It capable of defying top-weight.
Mick Easterby’s six-year-old looked destined for the top of the sprinting division following a fantastic 2011 campaign, during which he carried a big weight to a brilliant victory in the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood before being beaten a neck into third in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.
The following year proved to be a complete disaster, with Hoof It making just two appearances in a season ruined by injury.
It seemed his racing days could be coming to an end as he finished held in races at York, Goodwood and Ripon on his first three starts this year, but he dramatically turned the corner when third in the Sprint Cup again and he has regained his consistency since.
Good efforts in the Ayr Gold Cup, the Bengough Stakes and the British Champions Sprint at Ascot and the Wentworth Stakes at Doncaster have seen the speedster retain his lofty rating and he now switches back to a handicap with sound claims.
It is his first start on an artificial surface, but if he does take to the Polytrack and gets a good position, he certainly has the class to snap his long losing run.
Another race saved from last week is Kempton’s Betdaq - The Sports Betting Exchange Handicap, the final of the London Middle Distance Series.
There is £60,000 up for grabs in the one-mile-three-furlong contest and fancied to scoop the majority of the pot is the Luca Cumani-trained Jazz Master.
The Singspiel colt has already shown a liking for the Sunbury-on-Thames surface, winning here in September off a mark of 70 before making a winning return off 12lb higher at the end of October.
He appears a straightforward ride and looks bound to go close again in the hands of the excellent Andrea Atzeni.
The main attraction at Newbury is the Coolmation Graduation Chase, with Super Duty given the chance to get his season back on track.
The seven-year-old was one of the most consistent novice chasers on the circuit last season and heartbreakingly went down by a head when favourite for the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival.
He failed to fire on his final start of the campaign at Aintree, but that was probably one run too many, and he was widely considered a major player in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury at the end of November.
It proved to be a disappointing afternoon for the Donald McCain’s charge as he weakened quickly before being pulled up.
Perhaps a return to a smaller field will help him get his confidence back.
The best bet at Ludlow comes in the concluding event, with Dan Skelton’s Blue Heron rated banker material in the Tanners Claret Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
KEMPTON: 3.50 Green Music, 4.20 Understory, 4.50 Nafa, 5.20 Ain’t No Surprise, 5.50 Quiet Warrior, 6.20 Jazz Master, 6.50 Spirit Or Soul, 7.20 Attain.
LINGFIELD: 12.00 Joyous, 12.30 Lacey, 1.00 IFRIKA (NAP), 1.30 Bowie Boy, 2.00 Hoof It, 2.35 Honey Of A Kitten, 3.10 Rakaan, 3.40 Mick Duggan.
LUDLOW: 12.20 Poetic Verse, 12.50 Cloudy Joker, 1.20 Takeroc, 1.50 Moscow Me, 2.25 Rydalis, 3.00 Kayfleur, 3.30 Blue Heron.
NEWBURY: 12.10 Bugsy, 12.40 According To Trev, 1.10 Josses Hill, 1.40 Osmosia, 2.15 Super Duty, 2.45 Tistory, 3.20 Morello Royale.
DOUBLE: Ifrika and Hoof It.
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