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Lancashire Telegraph racing column
8:28am Wednesday 8th January 2014 in Sport
Harry Fry has opted not to run Rock On Ruby in the Check Out The All New freebets.co.uk Novices' Chase but he can still lift the Doncaster prize courtesy of Karinga Dancer.
The eight-year-old was a fair performer over hurdles and while he took a while to warm to his task on his fencing bow at this track last month, he eventually ran out a decent winner.
The departure of market rival Woodbank at the third-last left Karinga Dancer in the driving seat that day, but he looked a likely victor despite that development and was improving with every fence he jumped.
While Karinga Dancer might not be as high-profile as his stablemate, he is more than capable of getting the job done here.
Diamond King will be out to make amends for a costly blunder last time out as he lines up in the Download The All New freebets.co.uk "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.
Donald McCain's charge impressed with two bumper wins last term before making the best possible start to his hurdling career when winning at Wetherby in November.
Sent off a hot favourite next time at Bangor, he looked all over the winner before stepping at the last flight, losing all momentum and any chance of victory.
McCain is sure to have been brushing up on his hurdling at home and it would be no surprise to see Diamond King back on the winning track here.
Suffolk trainer John Ferguson is fond of running his horses at Doncaster, and appears to have unearthed the right race for Namibian.
The 2011 Queen's Vase and the Gordon Stakes winner made a rather inauspicious debut over hurdles at Huntingdon in December, when he finished eighth as the 2-1 favourite.
Namibian clearly needed that outing, however, as it was his first start since August, while the longer trip in the first division of the 1stsecuritysolutions.co.uk Maiden Hurdle should also be considered an asset.
It often takes at least one blow-out before Ferguson's ex-Flat recruits hit their stride. Expect Namibian to fit that category.
Byroness could rattle a few cages at a chunky price for the Winners Are Welcome At Betdaq Fillies' Handicap at Kempton.
The four-year-old filly is 1lb lower in the handicap than when she won over course and distance last February, with punters advised to look beyond her apparent no-show here in December.
Heather Main's representative was pinched for room two out out in a seven-furlong handicap and was eased once the cause was lost.
Before that she only succumbed to the useful Stormbound by a head over an extra furlong in November, for which she only went up a little in the weights.
Byroness knows this terrain very well, having struck at Kempton three times in the past, and might be over-priced given both her small-time connections and the alleged manner of her meek reversal last time.
Trainer John Gosden has been in rollicking good nick on the all-weather this winter, with Blessington the latest Clarehaven inmate taken to shine in the £500 Free Bets At Betdaq Handicap.
The four-year-old colt must carry joint-top weight for this, but his recent exploits at Lingfield read pretty well, suggesting a race of this nature is cosily within his compass.
It might be a little surprising to see Blessington drop in trip here - he finished exceedingly quickly when fourth over six furlongs over Christmas - but there is surely more to come from a horse who has only raced seven times.
Bajan Bear can come good for the first time since last July in the bookmakers.co.uk Handicap at Lingfield.
Michael Blanshard's six-year-old has gone eight races since he was last successful, but has shown distinct signs of a revival of late.
The gelded son of Compton Place was not beaten that far at a big price over course and distance in November, after which he shaped even better over Kempton's six furlongs when a close-up fourth .
Next up was a return to Lingfield, where he characteristically came from off the pace to take third spot behind Agerzam, beaten just over a length in a much better race than this.
Such is his protracted technique of running, Bajan Bear often needs fortune in running, but he is not devoid of ability and has been found, on paper at least, a most winnable encounter.
DONCASTER: 12.10 Namibian, 12.40 Dark And Dangerous, 1.10 Act Alone, 1.40 Karinga Dancer, 2.10 Diamond King, 2.45 My Flora, 3.20 Chasse En Mer, 3.50 Another Dimension.
KEMPTON: 4.10 Perfect Cracker, 4.40 Blessington, 5.10 Blue Noodles, 5.40 Rosie Prospects, 6.10 New Rich, 6.40 BYRONESS (NAP), 7.10 Odin.
LINGFIELD: 12.30 Shamardyh, 1.00 Only Ten Per Cent, 1.30 Daniel Thomas, 2.00 Syncopate, 2.35 Secret Song, 3.10 Bajan Bear, 3.40 One Last Dream.
DOUBLE: Byroness and Karinga Dancer.
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