Can claims Carlisle spoils
Danny Cook feels Yesyoucan would not be out of place in a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival after defying top weight with ease in the Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle at Carlisle.
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The eight-year-old was having only the 10th start of his life off a mark of 130 but he laughed at his opponents under Cook, who enjoyed his greatest moment as a jockey on Great Endeavour in the Byrne Group Plate at Cheltenham in 2010.
Brian Ellison picked up Yesyoucan for just £6,000 from David Arbuthnot in June and he has now won three of his six starts for the yard.
He claimed a valuable pot at Haydock the time before last but got stuck in the mud at the same track on his most recent outing.
Yesyoucan (11-4) was also the horse who provided Cook with his first winner after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a bad knee injury.
"He gave me a really good feel all the way around on that bit better ground," Cook told Racing UK.
"The last day at Haydock, the ground was very soft and he didn't enjoy that so Brian gave him a little break.
"I don't see any reason why we can't be thinking of Cheltenham and Aintree after that as the handicapper will give us a fair rise, but he keeps on improving and we don't know where he'll stop.
"He was the horse who gave me my comeback winner after my bad injury and he's had his problems, too.
"Once we get drying ground, there's Aintree and Ayr as well, it's not all about Cheltenham. A step up to three miles wouldn't hurt either."
Cook and Ellison will be heading to Cheltenham with Totalize in the Fred Winter and the quietly-fancied Viva Colonia in the Grand Annual.
Venetia Williams and Aidan Coleman can seemingly do no wrong at present and Emperor's Choice (15-8 favourite) claimed another win in the Cumberland Show Handicap Chase.
The victory looked unlikely for most of the race as Sydney Paget outjumped his rivals, but Coleman's perseverance was rewarded with a half-length success.
Micro Mission (5-2) provided Samantha Drake with her second win in two days in the British Stallion Studs EBF/Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mares' Novices' Chase.
Chris Grant's mare's task was made much easier by the first-fence exit of the odds-on Irish raider Charlie's Vic.
"I've done really well on her and I'm very lucky that Chris has given me the ride on her," said Drake.
"I didn't know the favourite had gone until Callum (Whillans, on Bolin Fiona, the only other finisher) told me when we were going down the back straight.
"She's very clever and careful at her fences but there was no pace and we were left in front so she was just looking for company."
Micro Mission holds an entry in Saturday's Eider Chase at Newcastle.
Phil Kirby and Kate Walton have enjoyed a good start since they joined forces and Kirby's Picks Milan (22-1) turned over the Donald McCain odds-on favourite Moscow Presents in the Happy 40th Birthday Lee Watson Novices' Hurdle.
"He's a grand horse. Howard (Pickersgill, owner) bought him to go pointing but said he'd love to have a horse run under rules," said Kirby.
"He's taken a bit of time to get to a racecourse, but he had one run in a bumper where he ran well and today was treated as being educational and whatever else he did was a bonus.
"He's done it really well. He dug deep and he'll be better over a fence. That's Howard's first win under Rules so he's over the moon. The yard is full, we've got 52 horses and the place is buzzing."
The Maurice Barnes-trained My Idea (12-1) finally broke his duck at the 20th attempt in the Madness Live On 6th July Handicap Hurdle.