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Lancashire Telegraph racing column
10:24am Sunday 29th December 2013 in Sport
A good card has been assembled at Doncaster, with Turn Over Sivola taken to come good in the Quicksilverslots Play £500 Roulette Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.
Formerly a capable handicap hurdler, the Alan King-trained six-year-old has three second places to show from as many start over fences.
But, in truth, he has been unfortunate to bump into three useful rivals on each occasion, not least Dodging Bullets at Kempton in October.
The latter's stablemate and subsequent Grade One winner Hinterland then spoiled the party at Sandown before a rejuvenated Baby Mix beat him back at Kempton.
There is a feeling that an extended two and a half miles did little for the selection in terms of stamina on that last run, and it is not at all surprising that King has opted to drop back to the minimum trip.
Armelle is not one to get carried away with but does look worth another chance in the 32Red.com Nursery Handicap at Southwell.
The Milk It Mick filly seems to act on the Fibresand and was noted making reasonable late progress over six furlongs of the Nottinghamshire track last week.
If Scott Dixon's youngster can find a little bit more progress to go with that then she could take a hand in the finish stepped up to a mile for the first time.
There is a race or two to be won with Coiste Bodhar and the 32Red Casino Maiden Auction Stakes fits the bill.
He was most recently tried over six furlongs at Wolverhampton but was a too keen for his own good, having plied his recent trade at five, nevertheless running well enough in third.
This will be his first start at Southwell and, off the same mark, it could be that five furlongs here is just the job.
It will be worth taking note of the market if it speaks in favour of Auden in the dizzy heights of the Coral Mobile Just Three Clicks To Bet Selling Handicap.
The well-travelled five-year-old was twice a winner in claiming company over 10 furlongs in Ireland earlier in the year but two runs for John Jenkins over a mile have so far yielded little joy.
But he has dropped 5lb in the handicap as a result and returns to what on previous evidence could be his optimum distance of 11 furlongs.
Little Glenshee deserves a shift of fortune in the Monteith Memorial Handicap Chase at Kelso.
Nick Alexander's inmate enjoys competing in testing conditions and takes an intriguing drop in trip on just his third start over fences.
All eyes at Leopardstown will be on the Ryanair Hurdle and the first of what could be more than one showdown this season between Hurricane Fly and Our Conor.
It is a matter of record that Hurricane Fly has few peers in Ireland or Britain, but in Our Conor he faces a new threat and it will be fascinating to see where the runaway Triumph Hurdle winner stands in the pecking order.
Neither horse is going to be at concert pitch this early in the season, of course, but Hurricane Fly has a run under his belt having won the Morgiana Hurdle, whereas Our Conor has just had the one spin on the Flat since his Cheltenham heroics.
Willie Mullins was fairly adamant Hurricane Fly would improve markedly from Punchestown, so, with all that in mind, it is hard to see the established king being dethroned just yet.
A stellar card at the Dublin track should see Morning Assembly enhance his claims to being the top novice staying chaser on either side of the Irish Sea when he lines up for the Topaz Novice Chase.
His win over Don Cossack in the Florida Pearl Chase has been given a Grade One boost by the runner-up, and trainer Pat Fahy has already been on the mark this week.
A Grade One winner himself over hurdles, Morning Assembly showed a great attitude in that race at Punchestown and it looks like he will be even better for this first foray at three miles over the larger obstacles.
DONCASTER: 12.10 Morning With Ivan, 12.40 TURN OVER SIVOLA (NAP), 1.15 Opening Batsman, 1.45 Lemony Bay, 2.20 Susquehanna River, 2.55 Figaro, 3.25 Favorite Girl.
KELSO: 12.00 Hellorboston, 12.30 The Flaming Matron, 1.05 Polarbrook, 1.35 Little Glenshee, 2.10 Romany Ryme, 2.45 Indigo Rock, 3.15 Bogside.
LEOPARDSTOWN: 12.25 Baily Dusk, 12.55 Noah Webster, 1.30 Rockdown, 2.00 Hurricane Fly, 2.35 Upsie, 3.05 Morning Assembly, 3.35 Value At Risk.
LIMERICK: 12.35 Blow The Doors Off, 1.10 Romantic Fashion, 1.40 Federici, 2.15 Sword Fish, 2.50 Maple Valley Gold, 3.20 Jupitor, 3.50 Clounts Meadows.
SOUTHWELL: 12.20 Scribe, 12.50 Armelle, 1.25 Coiste Bodhar, 1.55 Auden, 2.30 Stun Gun, 3.00 Pearl Noir, 3.30 Solemn.
DOUBLE: Turn Over Sivola and Coiste Bodhar.
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