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Lancashire Telegraph racing column
8:07am Thursday 20th February 2014 in Sport
Spirit Of Shankly can bounce back from a couple of recent defeats in the StanJames.com Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon.
Winner of two of his four starts over obstacles this term, he was last seen in action over hurdles when finishing a creditable fourth in the Lanzarote back in January.
He stayed on steadily behind impressive winner Saphir Du Rheu, who is earmarked for a run in Grade Two company this weekend, so the form looks pretty strong.
That was a decent effort on his first try at handicap level but his subsequent run in a jumpers bumper was a bit of a disappointment as he could finish only fourth as an odds-on favourite.
Perhaps the all-weather surface was not particularly to his liking, but Spirit Of Shankly failed to shine that day and goes on a retrieval mission here.
Qualviro made a successful debut in the hunter chase division at Market Rasen earlier this month and can go in again in the CGA Foxhunter Trial Open Hunters' Chase.
Twice a hurdles winner, he had failed to hit the target over fences under Rules but the veteran was a 42-length victor in Lincolnshire.
That was a thorough test of a race and Tim Vaughan could have found another winning opportunity.
Mansonien L'As has shown signs of a return to form and can continue his renaissance in the Sedgefielders Can't Wait Until October Handicap Chase at the County Durham track.
Now with Donald McCain after spending the last few years with Ferdy Murphy, Mansonien L'As recorded his first win in nearly 12 months when on the mark at Towcester on Boxing Day.
The addition of cheekpieces and the drop to a mark of 82 appeared to work the oracle but he showed his subsequent 13lb rise not to be too much of an issue when a narrow third on his latest effort.
He perhaps was not the easiest of rides that day but despite that slight unpredictability, he remains reasonably well treated on 96.
Knockgraffon King opened his account over fences with a cosy success last time and can make it a double for McCain in the Imperial Flyer Handicap Chase at Ayr.
The nine-year-old proved useful over hurdles for Noel Meade in the past, but had struggled to make his mark in the chase division before transferring yards at the end of the last campaign.
While his initial effort was nothing to write home about, he stepped up markedly to win at Newcastle last month, overcoming some minor jumping issues to win by two and a half lengths.
He was probably good value for the margin that day as he idled towards the finish and a 6lb rise does not look too significant judged on the pick of his Irish form.
Fashion Line can make a successful start to life in handicap company with victory at Wolverhampton.
Trainer Michael Bell pitches the four-year-old into the Ladbrokes Handicap after she made it third-time lucky in maiden company at Dunstall Park last month.
The daughter of Cape Cross did not perform too badly in two turf starts last year, running green on her first start before finishing second over nine furlongs at Carlisle in June.
While she was a defeated odds-on favourite on the second occasion, it later transpired she had finished lame and the fact she was off the track until January suggests it was not just a minor problem.
Connections patience was rewarded on her all-weather return, with Fashion Line travelling much the best over a mile and a furlong before asserting in the closing stages to prevail by nearly three lengths from a well-bred James Tate-trained runner.
The handicapper was obviously suitably impressed as he has handed out a starting mark of 82, but Fashion Line looks capable of making her mark from such a perch.
Johnny Farrelly seems to have worked out the key to Dimitar and he can go in again in the Download The Ladbrokes App Handicap.
Formerly trained by Eddie Lynam in Ireland, he transferred to the care of Brendan Powell last term, winning one of his eight starts for the yard.
Switched to Farrelly in the new year, Dimitar was well wide of the mark on his first couple of outings for his new team before notching a surprise 16-1 success earlier this month.
He had dropped to a career low of 64 that day and while he is saddled with a 6lb penalty, he was running off marks in the high 70s in his pomp so could still have a little in hand.
Tukitinyasok was not particularly suited by the way his most recent run panned out so his team will be hoping for better luck in the Coral App Download From The App Store Handicap.
He raced close to the pace that day only to be accounted for by a couple of late finishers in what was a pretty average race.
This is another rather humdrum contest but Tukitinyasok is given his chance to shine.
AYR: 2.20 Frankie's Promise, 2.50 Rock Relief, 3.20 Badea, 3.50 Indian Voyage, 4.20 Knockgraffon King, 4.50 Final Assault, 5.20 Flying Eagle.
CLONMEL: 2.15 Rubi Light, 2.45 Don Poli, 3.15 Claire Pet, 3.45 Daliyan, 4.15 Snowell, 4.45 Illusion Of Time.
HUNTINGDON: 2.10 Allusive Power, 2.40 Lord Of The Dunes, 3.10 Shotavodka, 3.40 Spirit Of Shankly, 4.10 Painted Gold, 4.40 Qualviro, 5.10 Bajan Blu.
SEDGEFIELD: 2.00 Lean Burn, 2.30 Vieux Lion Rouge, 3.00 Sam Patch, 3.30 Gulf Punch, 4.00 MANSONIEN L'AS (NAP), 4.30 Decent Lord, 5.00 Tom Lamb.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.30 Needless Shouting, 6.00 Tukitinyasok, 6.30 Benandonner, 7.00 Miami Gator, 7.30 Fashion Line, 8.00 Mon Petit Secret, 8.30 Pipers Piping, 9.00 Dimitar.
DOUBLE: Mansonien L'As and Spirit Of Shankly.