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Lancashire Telegraph racing column
7:00am Wednesday 12th February 2014 in Sport
Minstrel Lad has done enough this winter to suggest his time is nigh in the £500 Free Bets At Betdaq Handicap at Kempton.
The six-year-old has been a most consistent performer since rejoining Lydia Pearce from Jonjo O’Neill’s stables, and is clearly enjoying himself on the all-weather.
That was certainly evident at Wolverhampton on New Year’s Eve when he again picked up a bit of prize-money with a staying-on third in a handicap over an extended nine furlongs.
Minstrel Lad did well to finish where he did that day as he encountered a spot of unfortunate scrimmaging two furlongs from home and had to be switched right for a clean run.
The gelded son of Where Or When finished off his race particularly strongly, beaten three and a half lengths, yet remains off the same mark of 57.
His sole all-weather success for Pearce came at Wolverhampton in November off just 3lb higher, while it is interesting the reliable Liam Keniry replaces Jack Gilligan in the saddle.
Minstrel Lad’s last start over course and distance in December was also interesting as he again suffered a troubled passage to finish an unlucky third.
A big run upon his return to Sunbury looks assured, granted a smoother passage.
Cathedral can tower above his rivals in the Ladbrokes Apprentice Handicap at Lingfield.
Ed de Giles’ five-year-old made a nice comeback from nearly a year on the sidelines over a mile at Kempton in January when he finished fifth, beaten just over two lengths.
Cathedral posted some pretty smart efforts in his salad days so connections will no doubt be keen to cash in on what looks a relatively lenient mark.
The appointment of Ned Curtis is also a good piece of business as these sort of races are invariably resolved in the saddle.
Aldeburgh could be interesting in the Coral App Download From The App Store Handicap.
Trainer Jim Old has already tried this one, albeit with limited success, in maiden hurdles and bumpers, but he appears to have more of a liking for the Flat.
The five-year-old gelding was not beaten that far in a Lingfield maiden over seven furlongs in January, despite clearly being tapped for toe at the business end.
This step up to a mile and a quarter makes sense as he goes handicapping for the first time.
Figaro should appreciate the slightly easier task he faces in the Water Tight Green Compliance Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh.
The six-year-old is switched to handicap company after a fruitless run in novice events so far, finishing second in two of his four attempts.
His runner-up spot behind subsequent Grade One winner Captain Cutter on his penultimate start merits special mention, although he did not fare quite so well when behind Nesterenko on his last outing.
A couple of jumping errors proved costly that day, but he never really looked as though he was travelling as well as the winner.
Pitched in off a mark of 115 here, Figaro looks to be on a workable perch.
Radio Nowhere can gain a deserved success in the Edinburgh Evening News Handicap Chase.
Donald McCain’s six-year-old made a pleasing start to life over fences at Newcastle in December when he attempted to make all of the running under Jason Maguire.
Radio Nowhere eventually went down by a head to Sharney Sike, but that form looks strong as the winner has since doubled up.
McCain’s inmate should be a lot more wiser with that run in safe-keeping, especially with the ground unlikely to turn particularly heavy.
Fennell Bay can make it two wins in as many starts over obstacles in the Bet & Watch With RacingUK’s App Novices’ Hurdle.
A Royal Ascot winner a couple of year ago when trained by Mark Johnston, Fennell Bay ran out a comfortable 14-length winner on his first attempt over hurdles at Fakenham on New Year’s Day.
His excellent turn of foot was in evidence that day and while his jumping could have been a little slicker, that is something John Ferguson is sure to have been working on.
CLONMEL: 1.50 Upsie, 2.20 Very Wood, 2.50 Daliyan, 3.25 Snowell, 4.00 Turban, 4.35 Beckwith Star, 5.05 Linnel.
KEMPTON: 5.15 Polydamos, 5.45 MINSTREL LAD (NAP), 6.15 Top Cop, 6.45 Three Pips, 7.15 Light From Mars, 7.45 Wishformore, 8.15 West Leake.
LINGFIELD: 1.30 Frederic Chopin, 2.00 Yourinthewill, 2.30 Treasure Cay, 3.05 Descaro, 3.40 Sash Of Honour, 4.15 Aldeburgh, 4.45 Cathedral.
MUSSELBURGH: 1.40 Debt To Society, 2.10 Fennell Bay, 2.40 Radio Nowhere, 3.15 Willie Hall, 3.50 Figaro, 4.25 Habbie Simpson, 4.55 Coozan George.
DOUBLE: Minstrel Lad and Aldeburgh.