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Lancashire Telegraph Racing Column
7:00am Sunday 13th April 2014 in Sport
Witness In Court found the company a bit too hot at Ascot last time but should find Stratford's toteplacepot Racing's Favourite Bet Novices' Chase something of an easier task.
Donald McCain's charge has something of a mixed record over fences, winning one of his four completed starts, but he is clearly not without ability.
Triumphant at Musselburgh in January, that form has been boosted by the runner up going in again twice since and while he made no impact at the track next time, that day's winner Ericht is a well-regarded type.
He could not take his favoured place at the head of affairs at Sandown next time and that was again the case in Berkshire late last month, when he was beaten into sixth by Manyriverstocross.
That was a really competitive affair and this looks nowhere near as hot, so a slightly improved performance could well see him right.
Granville Island looked rejuvenated at Haydock last month and gets the nod in the totetrifecta Available On All Races Handicap Chase.
The seven-year-old gelding has been a superb ambassador for Staffordshire trainer Jennie Candlish, who appears to have him back to somewhere near his best for this assignment.
Despite having flopped badly at Doncaster in February, Granville Island got far closer to Shadows Lengthen in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap when beaten just a quarter of a length into third place.
Candlish's representative has gone up another 2lb for this, which takes him to a career-high mark, but his consistent streak, allied to a polished jumping technique, should ensures that punters are likely to get a fine run for their money.
Romany Ryme should make a decent fist of things in the DM Keith Skoda & Seat Maiden Hurdle at Wetherby.
The George Bewley-trained eight-year-old is nothing too startling, but he might not even need to be at his very best to take this humble-looking encounter.
Romany Ryme has been placed seven times in 11 outings over hurdles, so at least he is pretty reliable.
Perhaps one of the most significant snippets of form came at Hexham towards the end of March when he was distinctly found out for pace in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.
This extra couple of furlongs is therefore likely to be a major boon when assessing his chances, while any cut in the ground would also not go amiss as he returns to maiden company in pursuit of that elusive success.
It would take a brave man to oppose Aldopicgros bringing up the hat-trick in the 32Red Welcomes Microgaming Players "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle at Wincanton.
The four-year-old has been absolutely walloped by the assessor following victories at this course over two miles and in a handicap hurdle at Newbury last month.
With Paul Nicholls having wisely sent him back into novice company, he can continue to make hay in what hardly looks a race teeming with legends of the turf.
This longer trip is also likely to play to his not inconsiderable strengths.
CURRAGH: 2.15 Brightly Shining, 2.45 Booker, 3.20 Polished Rock, 3.55 Pop Art, 4.25 Alive Alive Oh, 5.00 Elusive In Paris, 5.35 Marakoush.
STRATFORD: 2.00 Call Me Vic, 2.30 WITNESS IN COURT (NAP), 3.05 Granville Island, 3.40 In By Midnight, 4.10 Little Legend, 4.45 Bruslini, 5.15 Bob's Legend.
TRAMORE: 2.25 Jolaine, 3.55 Shake It Up, 3.30 Akatara, 4.05 Balnaslow, 4.35 Ballysteen, 5.10 El Mondo, 5.45 Cloonacool.
WETHERBY: 2.10 Kings Bandit, 2.40 Verko, 3.15 My Idea, 3.50 Saddlers Mot, 4.20 Royal Sam, 4.55 Ready Token, 5.30 Big News, 6.00 My Old Lady.
WINCANTON: 1.50 Nordic Cross, 2.20 August Hill, 2.50 Prouts Pub, 3.25 Kie, 4.00 Cape Breton, 4.30 Aldopicgros, 5.00 Ruapehu, 5.40 Carole's Lord.
DOUBLE: Witness In Court and Granville Island.
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