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Lancashire Telegraph racing column
7:40am Wednesday 5th February 2014 in Sport
Forest Walker gets the nod in the Attwood Memorial Trophy Handicap Chase at Ludlow.
Trainer Dan Skelton has done a decent job with this seven-year-old since his switch from the hunter chase ranks, winning on his debut for new connections at Uttoxeter in November.
A return to the track four days later might then have come too quickly as he was never really a factor in a handicap chase at Warwick.
Forest Walker was again disappointing at Kempton over Christmas, but it could well have been that three miles on heavy ground was a bridge too far.
Skelton's decision to drop back down in trip at Wincanton last month was sagacious as the seven-year-old ran a fine race in defeat behind Bennys Mist, who was since trotted up again.
Despite that promising effort, the handicapper has taken another 2lb off his back for this race, which looks perfectly winnable given what he has achieved thus far.
Forest Walker also goes especially well in heavy ground, which could be a handy asset.
Benefique Royale is the choice in the Michael Lumsden Memorial Mares' Handicap Hurdle.
Out of luck in three attempts in novice company, she made a successful handicap bow when winning at Sandown back in December.
Nick Williams' charge was hardly an impressive winner that day, but her moderate victory has seen her rise just 5lb in the ratings and she remains on an attractive mark with heavy ground unlikely to present any real issue.
Pamak D'Airy won pleasingly at Sedgefield in January and can carry on the good work in the 32Red Casino Interactive Planning Handicap Chase at Carlisle.
Consistency is indisputably the 11-year-old's strong suit, so it was nice to see him win so tidily four weeks ago with a seven-length defeat of Mia's Vic, who is no slouch.
Harry Hogarth's clean-jumping gelding has only gone up 5lb for this race, which is hardly a disaster, while the prospect of a quagmire in Cumbria cannot be ruled out.
Should that be the case, Hogarth will be even more ebullient as Pamak D'Airy loves a ruck in the muck.
I'm A Rocker is worth supporting as he makes his debut in the 32Red Novices' Hurdle.
Placed twice in point-to-point company, I'm A Rocker looks a useful recruit for Donald McCain and can take advantage of what appears to be a fairly average event.
Captain Starlight looks a pretty engaging prospect in the Ladbrokes Handicap at Lingfield.
Jo Crowley's four-year-old has very few miles on the clock for a horse his age and has been unearthed a decent opportunity with which to consolidate upon a good return to action at Kempton last month.
The gelded son of Captain Marvelous had been sidelined since last July, so clearly needed the outing in a one-mile handicap at the Sunbury venue.
Be that as it may, Captain Starlight still did well to finish fourth, beaten just a length and a half, after he was denied a clear passage two furlongs from home.
Captain Starlight has only faltered once in five racecourse outings, the highlight of which was a four-length triumph in a Kempton maiden last winter.
With the handicapper having left him alone off a mark of 73, allied to the fact he is likely to be a lot fitter for his Kempton spin, he rates a solid shout.
Top Offer is seemingly back at a workable mark for the Download The Ladbrokes App Handicap, Peter Crate's five-year-old gelding was all at sea in 2013, but has returned to action this year with a shade more pizazz.
Two close-up efforts over course and distance and at Kempton tend to indicate he is getting close to rekindling a little of the form which saw him run in the 2000 Guineas two years ago, when trained by Roger Charlton.
Lucy Wadham's decision to give Mary Le Bow a chance over a mile and a half at Kempton looks a good bit of business.
The three-year-old filly stayed on powerfully to occupy fourth place over 10 furlongs at Lingfield in January on just her fourth career start.
That was a distinct step forward for Mary Le Bow, who can get a lot closer now her stamina will be tested to the full.
New Rich was arguably given too much to do on his most recent foray, but compensation awaits in the Betdaq 1st UK Race Commission Free Handicap.
The four-year-old gelding was probably hamstrung by a lackadaisical pace over course and distance in January, but his cause was probably not helped by exaggerated waiting tactics.
New Rich is only 2lb higher in the weights than when he won a small race here in December and has hardly been set an impossible task in what looks a humdrum encounter.
CARLISLE: 1.20 Pamak D'Airy, 1.50 I'm A Rocker, 2.20 Blueside Boy, 2.55 Conjola, 3.30 Clondaw Knight, 4.00 Sam Lord, 4.30 King's Grace.
DOWN ROYAL: 1.15 Drawn N Drank, 1.45 Katnap, 2.15 Reality Dose, 2.50 Leavethelighton, 3.25 Paco Jack, 3.55 Honey Bach, 4.25 Railway Rule.
KEMPTON: 5.00 Daneglow, 5.30 Polydamos, 6.00 National Service, 6.30 La Napoule, 7.00 First Experience, 7.30 Mary Le Bow, 8.00 New Rich.
LINGFIELD: 1.30 Cabuchon, 2.00 Waveguide, 2.30 Secret Suspect, 3.05 Captain Starlight, 3.40 St Ignatius, 4.10 Bretherton, 4.40 Top Offer.
LUDLOW: 1.40 Edlomond, 2.10 The Romford Pele, 2.40 FOREST WALKER (NAP), 3.15 Benefique Royale, 3.50 Fascino Rustico, 4.20 Foundry Square, 4.50 Tara Road.
DOUBLE: Forest Walker and Captain Starlight.
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