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Lancashire Telegraph racing column
7:35am Monday 17th February 2014 in Sport
Swiss Cross made light of a lengthy absence when winning at this track at the start of the month and he can go in again in the Compare Bookmakers At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap at Wolverhampton.
Connections of the seven-year-old are keen to get their charge qualified for the bumper all-weather finals day on Good Friday and another run here ticks a box on the eligibility scale.
Fomerly trained by Gerard Butler, Swiss Cross is now in the care of Phil McEntee and he made an excellent start for the yard when winning over course and distance on his first outing since last May.
He has clearly had his problems but there could be no arguing with his comfortable length-and-a-half victory over Muhdiq in what was a similarly competitive event to this.
Rated 103 in his pomp, Swiss Cross was lining up off a mark of 94 that day and the handicapper clearly felt he had been a touch generous as he has whacked him up 5lb in the ratings subsequently.
Despite his increased burden, Swiss Cross still appeals as a well-handicapped runner who is clearly returning to form.
Munaawib should give his supporters a good run for their money in the Ladbrokes Handicap.
The six-year-old has been in fair form this winter, winning three times since November, most recently when a three-and-a-quarter-length victor over this seven-furlong track.
Everything panned out in his favour that day as he was allowed an uncontested lead and Munaawib took full advantage.
He might not be allowed such an easy time up front here and he also has to contend with an increased mark of 67, but given his excellent recent run of form, Munaawib is not to dismiss lightly.
Attain took a fair while to get his head in front but his confidence should be riding high in the coral.co.uk Best Odds Guaranteed On Racing Handicap.
Julia Feilden’s charge had failed to hit the mark in 23 previous starts before ending his barren run in style with a six-length verdict at this track.
While that was only an amateurs’ event, and one full of unpredictable types at that, Attain grabbed the opportunity with both hands to prove perfectly capable at this kind of level.
He has plenty of solid form in this kind of grade and while an 8lb rise is quite steep, he is still a way off his career high rating.
The wet weather has seen Southwell’s jumps card bite the dust but they offer up an interesting bumper card in its place.
Gogeo could be the headline act in the toteexacta “Jumpers’ Bumper” National Hunt Flat Race given he has been winning there on the level in recent weeks.
Alan Swinbank’s charge was placed on his only bumper outing to date and managed to win on his sole hurdles run when seeing off War Poet at Doncaster in November 2011.
He has clearly had his problems since though, being off the track for two years subsequently before returning with a fine third over nine furlongs at Southwell last December.
That run obviously set him straight as he followed up with victory back at the Nottinghamshire venue late last month, when his style of running suggested any extra distance would not provide too much of an issue.
Gogeo could well be sharper than a number of his rivals here.
Hazy Tom might relish the fact there are no obstacles in the totepool.com “Jumpers’ Bumper” National Hunt Flat Race.
Having won his first four races the sky looked the limit but he was found wanting when upped in class as the season progressed.
There is not much of him and chasing seems a real effort so something like this could be just what he needs to get his confidence back.
SOUTHWELL: 2.00 Exemplary, 2.30 Dolatulo, 3.00 Sin Bin, 3.30 Gogeo, 4.00 Hazy Tom, 4.30 Great Try.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.15 Fair Breeze, 2.45 Josie’s Dream, 3.15 The Blue Dog, 3.45 Abyaat, 4.15 Attain, 4.45 SWISS CROSS (NAP), 5.15 River Goddess, 5.45 Munaawib.
DOUBLE: Swiss Cross and Munaawib.
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