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Lancashire Telegraph racing column
7:22am Wednesday 5th March 2014 in Sport
Morning With Ivan is the choice in the Follow Us On Twitter @CatterickRaces Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the North Yorkshire venue.
Martin Todhunter's charge arrived from the Jim Bolger yard with three Flat wins to her credit and plenty of expectation having cost 42,000 guineas at the sales.
It took her until the fourth attempt to get off the mark, though, finally winning a moderate Musselburgh heat in decent style late last month.
The form is certainly nothing to write home about but Morning With Ivan picked up well when asked should be capable of building on that again now she has a nice confidence-booster under her belt.
Tiny Dancer was a fortunate winner last time but can show that was no fluke by following up in the Dine And View At Catterick Races Novices' Handicap Chase.
The six-year-old was nothing special over hurdles but switched to fences at Ayr last month, he powered home by 24 lengths, although the leading market fancies both failed to fire that day.
While the form of that win could be questioned, Tiny Dancer turned in an excellent round of jumping and the handicapper has not gone too made in raising his rating by 5lb.
Alan Swinbank's charge certainly appeared to relish the test of fences and it could well be that he excels over the bigger obstacles.
Epic Battle should be given chance to redeem himself in the Betdaq - Sports Betting Exchange Handicap at Kempton after letting down favourite-backers on his most recent outing.
William Haggas' charge came in for some heavy support at Wolverhampton last month but when push came to shove, Halfsin proved three-quarters of a length too good.
Epic Battle was well positioned to strike that day and while he perhaps did not get an ideal run, he could not pick up quickly enough and despite making up plenty of ground in the dying strides, he ran out of time.
Twice a winner last November he had previously finished third to the well-regarded String Theory on Boxing Day before being given a break until his Dunstall Park return.
Epic Battle is now three runs without a win but his consistent profile is a definite positive and while connections would surely love the handicapper to drop him a little, the Acclamation gelding remains more than capable off this kind of mark.
Divine Call is the pick of Milton Bradley's three runners in the Visit And Dine In The Panoramic Restaurant Handicap.
He thrives over six furlongs here, winning one of his three most recent outings and placing on the other two starts.
He was last seen finishing a head second in a similar event last month and he should not be discounted off just a 1lb higher mark.
Galiotto has been running consistently well since returning to the all-weather and he can strike gold again in the Jump Racing Silver Cups 15.03.14 Handicap.
The eight-year-old was tried over hurdles again just before Christmas but that decision did not pay dividends and Galiotto appeared much happier back on the Polytrack at the end of January.
He won a very average event at Kempton at the beginning of February and his recent third was a decent effort, suggesting he is holding his form well.
Modem should be on to follow in the 32Red Immortal Romance Slot Handicap at Lingfield if he can settle a little better than he did last time.
This lightly-raced four-year-old had his fair share of supporters at Kempton but he was quickly off the mark and raced prominently before his early efforts began to tell.
He relinquished the lead a furlong out and eventually finished just under three lengths back in third, with the handicapper opting to leave him on an unchanged mark of 69.
While things did not pan out in favour of Modem that day, he holds every chance once again this time.
Outbacker clearly has plenty of ability and can graduate from maiden level in the 32Red Handicap Stakes.
Handed an initial mark of 76, Mark Johnston could still have a bit in hand with this Aussie Rules filly as she has looked a bit green in hanging on her three racecourse outings so far.
Her desire to move across to the inner rail on her most recent start proved no bar to success, though, as Outbacker saw off a short-priced favourite by a comfortable two and three-quarter lengths.
She had also drifted across the track when placed at Lingfield on her penultimate race so if Outbacker can take a straighter line this time, she should emerge on top.
Starbotton continues to ply her trade with some success and further glory awaits in the Download The Ladbrokes App Handicap.
She has hit her stride in recent weeks and can continue the good work after narrowly failing to make all at Wolverhampton.
CATTERICK: 2.20 Lac Sacre, 2.50 Tiny Dancer, 3.20 MORNING WITH IVAN (NAP), 3.50 Amir Pasha, 4.20 Indigo Island, 4.50 Silk And Roses, 5.20 Molly Cat.
KEMPTON: 5.30 Addikt, 6.00 Musical Theme, 6.30 Epic Battle, 7.00 Divine Call, 7.30 Galiotto, 8.00 Wilfred Pickles, 8.30 Fire King.
LINGFIELD: 2.00 Seamster, 2.30 Starbotton, 3.00 Woodbridge, 3.30 Modem, 4.00 Avidly, 4.30 Outbacker, 5.00 Zed Candy Girl.
DOUBLE: Morning With Ivan and Epic Battle.
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