Rory Delargy puts up a couple of bets at Hamilton and Plumpton...
"The pair pay another trip to the Scottish venue, or at least one of their horses does, when North Pole bids to enhance his trainer's remarkable strike rate north of the border in the 16:20. Since the turn of the century, the master of Heath House has sent fifty 3-y-o runners to Hamilton, with 44% of the winning, and only seven in that number out of the frame."
Sir Mark Prescott and Lady Fairhaven have enjoyed some good days in the trainer/owner relationship over the years, none sweeter than when Quinlan Terry landed the 1988 Cambridgeshire (a day I remember well as I'd included him and Kim Brassey's Amigo Menor in a 10p yankee, and was feeling decidedly flush, not to say smug). It's not all glamour, though, and Prescott has always been an advocate of the old saying "keep yourself in the best company, and your horses in the worst", which is an ethos which has served the veteran Newmarket handler well over the years.
Indeed, the first winner that Lady Fairhaven had after the heady Quinlan Terry days came 20 years ago last month, when Sloe Brandy landed a nine-furlong selling handicap at Hamilton off a handicap mark of just 38! A fine piece of placing, for sure. The pair pay another trip to the Scottish venue, or at least one of their horses does, when North Pole bids to enhance his trainer's remarkable strike rate north of the border in the 16:20. Since the turn of the century, the master of Heath House has sent fifty 3-y-o runners to Hamilton, with 44% of the winning, and only seven in that number out of the frame.
North Pole's credentials are strong, particularly as an improving 3-y-o against more exposed handicappers. The son of Compton Place got off the mark in a mile handicap at Brighton in August, and was unlucky to bump into a progressive sort in the shape of Pilates at Bath last time. The winner franked that form by turning her next outing into a procession, and North Pole looks fairly treated on the same mark, particularly with the prospect of further improvement on the cards. On the other hand, market rival Size appeared better than the bare result over C&D last time, but that form has been badly let down by those who finished around him since, and he looks poor value as a result.
At Plumpton, it may prove wise to forgive Midnight Lira a poor chasing debut when she lines up for her handicap debut in that sphere at 17:00. First of all, new rules regarding qualifying requirements for novice handicap chases means that it's always wise to turn a blind eye to a chasing debutant who already has a hurdles mark, and that is effectively what the handicapper does too, with many simply allowed to fiddle around in rear in order to meet the criteria for achieving that needed mark. In the case of Midnight Lira, she's bred to excel over fences, with her dam a prolific winner at staying trips, and having already produced the useful chaser Bally Legend by the same sire. Bally Legend was a winning hurdler, but improved over fences last season, and there's every chance his little sister will follow suit.
Caroline Keevil, who trains, is not one to run her chasers when not ready, and she's only had one runner in this sphere since April. That runner was Cinevator, who duly dotted up at Fontwell a few weeks ago. With the yard ticking along nicely, Midnight Lira is taken to score at attractive odds.
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