Catching Pigeons: Many winners
Catching Pigeons returns with all the gossip ahead of the weekend action and news of big names riding work in Newmarket.
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Many Clouds is back in great form and ready to notch his first pattern success in the Grade Two RSA Trial Novices' Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
The prospect of testing ground will hold no terrors for Oliver Sherwood's charge, who has won two of his three outings and was arguably a little unlucky on his second start.
The form of his latest easy win at Wetherby reads very well in light of the runner-up's success in a tough novice handicap at Cheltenham last month and a smart workout and schooling session last weekend suggests the seven year old is over the injury which forced him to miss the Towton Chase at Wetherby.
Lough Kent is one of the more interesting Nicky Henderson runners on Saturday. He should go well on his British debut in the Great British Drama Handicap Hurdle.
Bought by Sprinter Sacre's owner Caroline Mould, he has decent form in the mud behind him in France and has shown enough at home to suggest he can run a big race off this mark.
Highland Lodge can bounce back from a modest effort in the Welsh National with a big run in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Handicap Chase.
Three miles and six furlongs proved much too tough for Emma Lavelle's gelding in the testing ground, but his fourth to Triolo D'Alene in the Hennessy Gold Cup is very good form and gives him a great chance here. He is expected to be suited by the step back to this shorter trip.
Cole Harden looked a good horse when he skipped through the mud to beat a decent field at Newbury last month, and he should go well again in the Neptune Investment Novices Hurdle.
Warren Greatrex has enjoyed a great season and this is one of the horses who could give him a breakthrough big-race success in the future. This contest was penciled in as a target shortly after his latest triumph and he looks open to plenty of improvement.
Mountain King is well regarded by the Philip Hobbs camp and his recent work suggests he is ready to take a step up in class in the Ascot Sponsors' Club 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle. Although he beat little on his hurdling bow, he could not have been more impressive and he handled the very soft ground well. He only gets a 5lb penalty for the win which means he receives a handy 3lbs from Wadswick Court and Wilde Blue Yonder.
Our Father flopped on the decent ground in the Hennessy, but he will be much more at home in the testing conditions of the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydiock. He has been given a nice break since that Newbury effort and he does produce his best form when fresh.
Champion hurdle hope My Tent Or Yours will be the star on show at the jumpers bumper meeting at Kempton on Sunday, but team Henderson will also be looking to go close with Bringithomeminty in the opening Dine In The Panoramic National Hunt Flat race.
He is one of the many Seven Barrows youngsters in need of a bit of decent ground and this could be the ideal warm up for further action in the Spring. He is working nicely and should improve on his only run last season. The former flat performers Stand To Reason and Grey Blue will also be fancied by the Seven Barrows team in the two divisions of the Kempton Park Chase Day Bumper.
Conditions in Newmarket have been somewhat testing this week with howling winds and heavy rain but the big battalions have managed to keep the show on the road.
The Fugue stepped out on Tuesday and Friday wearing waterproofs and an old-fashioned night cap covering her ears. She never turned a hair.
Neither did Red Cadeaux when he had to share the main road with lorries and school children as he returned from a canter on the heath.
Telescope was among the big names in action on Warren Hill this week with Ryan Moore making a welcome return to partner Dank in a gentle exercise.
Tom Queally was another Classic winning jockey doing the early morning duties - this time for Lady Cecil when he partnered Tacticus in a canter.
However neither big-name jockey took the eye quite as much as Charlie Fellows' staff who were all sporting bright red caps in the Newmarket gloom.