Go East as McCoy goes West
Man On The Spot previews all of Saturday's live terrestrial television action from Ffos Las, Sandown and Wetherby.
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With A P McCoy at Ffos Las, Richie McLernon comes in for the ride on EASTLAKE and can get this all-chase meeting off to a winning start. The seven-year-old proved no match for Rody at Warwick three weeks ago but, successful previously at Ascot on heavy ground, is clearly back in form and gets weight from several handicappers who struggle to get their heads in front.
Toubab beat Falcon Island and Lancetto over course and distance a little under a year ago but is much worse off at the weights with both, though this is a slight drop in grade. Falcon Island finished ahead of King Edmond and Idarah here last month and should be thereabouts again while Lord Singer is preferred to Kudu Country of the others.
A cracking contest with the weights headed by Oscara Dara, who landed a gamble in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton three weeks ago. Double Ross had Balder Succes well behind when keeping on well in the Ladbroke at Ascot in December, the latter having earlier beaten Hollow Tree over 2m at Haydock. Miss Milborne arrives in good form, as does El Dancer, while Rebecca Curtis runs three with Patrick Corbett's claim likely to help novice The Romford Pele.
TANERKO EMERY goes from strength-to-strength and revels in heavy ground. He's shot up the weights and this is easily the best race he's contested but it may just be worth risking David Pipe's improving seven-year-old while he's still at the right end of the handicap as the longer trip shouldn't be a problem. Medinas has a chance at the weights and looks the pick of the remainder.
CAPTAIN CONAN had Third Intention eight lengths away in third when winning a Grade 2 on his chasing debut at Cheltenham in November and the result was replicated in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase over 2m here the following month.
He should again take care of his old rivals today as he stayed 2m2f over hurdles and may also have too much for Houblon Des Obeaux, who has done well over fences but generally races over further. He did win over 2m5f at Wincanton in November however. Changing Times is improving with experience but needs to step up on victories at Market Rasen and Taunton to figure here.
Last season's Hennessy winner Carruthers showed his class when winning easy over 3m2f here on Boxing Day. He never got to the front over hurdles at Cheltenham last week.
Junior won on heavy ground at Newcastle on his reappearance and can be forgiven his run in the King George while Cannington Brook came back to form over 3m at Haydock in December, though reserves his best efforts for the Lancashire track. Shaking Hands has won here and at Towcester lately while novice Red Rocco jumps well though hasn't beaten much so far.
ALFIE SPINNER couldn't justify favouritism at Sandown four weeks ago but this stamina test should be much more to his liking and he's thrived on heavy ground in the past. Nick Williams' stayer gets the vote with Our Island possibly the most interesting of those racing from out of the handicap.
Dashing George makes a swift reappearance after finishing fourth at Leicester on Wednesday and faces stronger opposition here. Gwanako's runs last year were confined to hunter chases and he hasn't been seen since disappointing at Newton Abbot in May while this may be tough for Tail of The Bank and an insufficient test of stamina for Double Dizzy.
Mad Max has been well beaten in all recent starts but Pigeon Island is well enough treated if fully wound-up for his first outing since finishing second in the Bobby Renton at Wetherby in October. PLEIN POUVOIR doesn't always find a lot off the bridle but the ground here won't be a problem and he could pick these off if Aidan Coleman can time his challenge to perfection.
The consistent HOUBLON DES OBEAUX is proven in this company. He's gone close on a couple of occasions since winning a Grade 2 novice event at Wincanton in November and is just preferred to Super Duty if lining up here rather than at Sandown. The latter has improved with every start over fences, however, culminating in victory at Cheltenham in December and in turn makes more appeal than Fourjacks.
Tim Easterby's charge is worth a try at this level having won his chasing bow over a shorter trip here three weeks ago while Goulanes was a Listed winner over hurdles at Cheltenham in November and could go well on his first start over fences. Restless Harry was below par when stepped up in trip last time but has superior form to both Fill The Power and Fentara.
Roberto Goldback has found a new lease of life under Nicky Henderson but the handicapper looks to have him firmly in his grip at present while Mister Hyde will need a career-best effort if he is to complete the hat-trick having been raised another 13lb since scoring at Kempton over Christmas, though subsequent Kempton winner Brackloon High was behind that day.
KEPPOLS HILL lacks the experience of his rivals but bounced back from a fall at Exeter to land the odds with a bit in hand at Chepstow. He makes his handicap debut on a fair mark and, as this stiff track should play to his strengths, gets the nod today as Welsh National failure Viking Blond will ensure there is no hanging about. On Trend looks held on the book while Summery Justice returns from a lengthy absence.