Lease can return dividends
Chris Wilson previews Monday's meetings in the UK and he fancies Lease Lend at Catterick.
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CATTERICK: 2.05 Tipsy Gypsy, 2.40 Molaise Lad, 3.10 Balding Banker, 3.40 Vinetta, 4.10 LEASE LEND (NAP), 4.40 Legacy Gold.
PLUMPTON: 1.50 Definite Ruby, 2.20 Malt Master, 2.50 Maccabees, 3.20 De Blacksmith, 3.50 Gandalfe, 4.20 Bathwick Junior, 4.50 Solo Jugadores.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.30 Fantasy Fighter, 3.00 Frequency, 3.30 Full Swing, 4.00 Mudaawem, 4.30 Patriotic, 5.00 Ofcoursewecan, 5.30 Ace Master, 6.00 Kielty's Folly.
DOUBLE: Lease Lend and Malt Master.
Lease Lend can make a triumphant return to Catterick by winning the Weatherbys Bank Handicap Chase.
Tim Easterby's 10-year-old is the essence of consistency in races of this nature and should again run with honour back in North Yorkshire.
Although he has become part of the furniture at Wetherby, Lease Lend likes it at Catterick, too, and has won on his last two visits to the track - including in this race three years ago.
Easterby's representative must shoulder top weight this time, but he is just
1lb higher than when last successful at Wetherby just over a year ago.
Balding Banker is the pick in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Novices' Handicap Chase.
The Ferdy Murphy-trained seven-year-old has made a solid, if unspectacular, start over fences, and would have got a little closer to Nuts N Bolts at Ayr last month had he not made a bad mistake four out.
Murphy would not have been too disappointed, though, as Balding Banker has now confirmed his aptitude for three miles and beyond.
A mark of 120 still gives connections plenty with which to work ahead of his return to handicaps.
Trainer Keith Reveley will have high hopes for Vinetta in the yorkshire-outdoors.co.uk Handicap Hurdle.
The five-year-old mare showed a likeable shift of gear over this course and distance on New Year's Day, when she chased home stablemate Special Catch in a novices' hurdle.
She had hardly yanked up too many trees on two previous starts over flights, so that was a distinct improvement.
Vinetta makes her handicap bow off a perch of 101 and must surely go very close if her last outing is factored into the equation.
Malt Master is the potential star on show at Plumpton.
Nicky Henderson has had this one well entered over the last week, but has opted to run him in the attheraces.com On Your iPad Novices' Chase.
The six-year-old has only had six visits to the racecourse, but is clearly a sharp animal on his day - as illustrated by a comprehensive five-length defeat of Asaid at Huntingdon in January.
Before that he had jumped a little scratchily on his chasing debut at Bangor in December, so it was reassuring to note the progress he had made next time up.
Malt Master is likely to be below the top-drawer inmates of Seven Barrows, but he could be a warm order for a handicap at Cheltenham next month if he impresses in this two-and-a-half-mile engagement.
De Blacksmith is also on a bit of a roll, and must have a grand opportunity to bring up the hat-trick in the Follow AtTheRaces On Twitter Handicap Hurdle.
Trainer Gary Moore thinks quite a bit of this unexposed five-year-old, who showed plenty of fighting spirit to defeat Shuh Shuh Gah by a short head over this course and distance in January.
It would be disappointing if he cannot carry on the good work in handicaps off a mark of 128.
Fantasy Fighter often fares well at Wolverhampton and can post a first victory since September 2010 in the bookmakers.co.uk Handicap.
Ron Harris' sprinter has already had a busy month, but has done enough on his last two starts to warrant respect here.
The eight-year-old gelding's six career wins have all come over six furlongs, but he is certainly no spent force over this minimum trip.
Fantasy Fighter was beaten just three-quarters of a length in a similar race last week, yet has been relieved another 1lb by the assessor.
The son of Danetime is now 23lb lower than when he was last victorious and his time must surely be close once again.
Allegiances should be pledged to the colours of Patriotic in the coral.co.uk Mobile Casino Handicap.
The Chris Dwyer-trained five-year-old perhaps came from too far back over a mile at Lingfield last time, but still ate up lots of ground to finish fourth, beaten a length and a half.
He still looks reasonably treated on his best form and the decision to step up to nine and a half furlongs looks wise.