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Lancashire Telegraph Racing Column
7:00am Tuesday 18th March 2014 in Sport
National Service can continue to gain plenty of new admirers by winning the 32Red.com Handicap at Southwell.
The gelded son of War Chant has made nice progress in three starts this winter, and appears sharp enough to yet take a few more steps along the ladder.
Stuart Williams’ three-year-old was an easy winner over this five-furlong trip at Kempton on his debut, after which he was only narrowly denied back in Sunbury in February.
National Service arguably ran even better in a good six-furlong handicap 10 days later at Lingfield, when he finished only fourth but was beaten under a length by Harwoods Volante.
The winner has since held his form by finishing second in good company, while the runner-up, Drive On, also looks pretty smart.
Despite having been raised 1lb for this race, the return to the minimum trip appears a fine call as he perhaps just lacked a little acceleration close home at Lingfield.
National Service has plenty on his plate against three in-form rivals, but there is clearly more to come.
Evacusafe Lady could hold the key to the 32Red Mega Moolah Millionaires Apprentice Handicap.
The three-year-old daughter of Avonbridge was a noteworthy third over seven furlongs at this track in February, when she overcome a bit of scrimmaging to take third place behind Beautiful Stranger.
John Ryan’s chestnut was doing all of her best work towards the finish, so it is little wonder she steps up to a mile back in Nottinghamshire.
Evacusafe Lady is winless from 16 starts, but the assessor has taken off another 2lb for this encounter, with Nathan Alison’s appointment of some significance.
Saints And Sinners is quite a confident pick when he steps up in trip at Wetherby.
The six-year-old gelding, trained by Mick Easterby, was an eyecatcher at Market Rasen last month when he stayed on for second place in a decent handicap chase over two and a half miles.
Although he was no match for the sharp winner, Benefit Cut, jockey Jake Greenall made encouraging late headway to suggest the step up to beyond three miles in the Follow @WetherbyRaces On Twitter Handicap Chase will work well.
Saints And Sinners runs in Yorkshire off the same mark of 115, which should see him competitive if his hurdling form is factored into the equation.
Easterby’s inmate also has winning form on a decent surface as he goes over fences for just the fourth time in his career.
Work Boy is very much in the twilight of his career, but he showed earlier in the month at Sedgefield that the fires still flicker with intent.
The 13-year-old did not jump brilliantly in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase, but he belied huge odds to take fourth spot behind Mitchell’s Way.
Trainer Richard Drake must have been delighted by that as it was Work Boy’s first start since he won a good race at Haydock in October 2011.
Work Boy has a 100 per cent record at Wetherby, albeit just the one race, but he should be much fitter than when last sighted and is well handicapped on his best form in the New Racing UK Anywhere Available Now Handicap Chase.
Shadarpour looks a good call in division two of the NFRC South Western Committee Handicap Hurdle at Exeter.
Gary Moore’s five-year-old is 2lb higher than when a close-up third at Huntingdon in December, but he is clearly in a happy place right now, having only just been touched off on the Flat in January.
EXETER: 2.00 Scribe, 2.30 Kings Apollo, 3.00 Caulfields Venture, 3.35 Freckle Face, 4.10 Woodford County, 4.40 Fuzzy Logic, 5.15 Shadarpour.
SOUTHWELL: 2.20 Pearl Noir, 2.50 Soul Of Motion, 3.25 A Little Bit Dusty, 4.00 Stand Guard, 4.30 NATIONAL SERVICE (NAP), 5.05 Alumina, 5.35 Evacusafe Lady.
WETHERBY: 2.10 Pair Of Jacks, 2.40 Turf Trivia, 3.15 Native Spa, 3.50 Work Boy, 4.20 Summerlea, 4.55 Saints And Sinners, 5.25 Hitman Harry.
DOUBLE: National Service and Saints And Sinners.
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