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Lancashire Telegraph Racing Column
7:35am Monday 24th March 2014 in Sport
Cove appears to be making great strides and a recent win should have set her up nicely for the Mick & Sheila 50th Wedding Anniversary Mares' Handicap Hurdle at Towcester on Monday.
Nick Gifford's charge has had just three starts under Rules so far and has improved with every outing, culminating in victory at Fontwell earlier this month.
She had caught the eye on her penultimate start when running very green, and better ground at Fontwell certainly seemed to bring out the best in the seven-year-old.
The daughter of Westerner did not have to be anything special to win on that occasion but there was much to like about her comfortable two-and-a-quarter-length verdict, with a fair bit still to come.
An initial mark of 104 looks perfectly workable and the handicapper may just have been a touch too lenient.
Ex-Flat scorer Spyder is another who should benefit from the drier spell of weather in the Towcester Racecourse New Greyhound Track Development Novices' Hurdle.
Campaigned by Jane Chapple-Hyam on the level, Spyder was clearly no great shakes having notched just one win in 17 starts.
However, he showed more than a flash of promise on his National Hunt bow as he chased home Flementime on desperate ground at Southwell in February.
He caught the eye when holding Brave Vic for the runner-up honours, with that form receiving a significant boost when that rival went on to win the EBF Final earlier this month.
That piece of form puts Spyder a notch above the rest for trainer Lucy Wadham.
Blue Buttons will be on a retrieval mission as she dips in class for the Mental Health Challenge Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Taunton.
Harry Fry's runner has been more than holding her own this season and put in a particularly pleasing performance when second at Listed level at this track in December.
That effort inspired Fry to try his luck in another Listed heat at Wincanton last month but his hopes were dashed when Blue Buttons took a heavy fall after just four hurdles.
Fry has given his runner a good few weeks to get over that mishap and will surely have built her confidence back up for what is an eminently winnable event.
Hierarch arrested a losing spell at Wolverhampton on his most recent outing and can go in again in the Ladbrokes Handicap back at Dunstall Park.
He had been knocking on the door in his couple of previous efforts but Hierarch eventually found the necessary extra to gain a head verdict over seven furlongs, seeing off another in-form rival.
His narrow verdict prevents the handicapper from hitting him too hard, as does the fact it was only a three-runner race.
So off just a 1lb higher mark, Hierarch could well make it two wins on the spin.
Camachoice can end a 12-month barren spell in the Ladbrokes Selling Stakes.
He obviously is not one of Marco Botti's star performers having failed to hit the target since last March, but he has not been running that badly of late.
Dropping to selling class here could bring about that much-needed, confidence-boosting win.
TAUNTON: 2.20 Stow, 2.50 Blue Buttons, 3.20 Hint Of Mint, 3.50 Possibly Flora, 4.20 King's Warrior, 4.50 Browns Brook, 5.20 Comical Red.
TOWCESTER: 2.00 Spyder, 2.30 Shantou Breeze, 3.00 COVE (NAP), 3.30 Classic Case, 4.00 Walter De La Mare, 4.30 Bennys Quest, 5.00 Western Diva.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.40 Beylerbey, 3.10 Very First Blade, 3.40 Hierarch, 4.10 Camachoice, 4.40 Stoneham, 5.10 One Scoop Or Two, 5.40 Dozy Joe.
DOUBLE: Cove and Hierarch.
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