Friday's Sandown feature: High hopes for Down The Highway

Emma Lavelle
Emma Lavelle

Emma Lavelle is hopeful Down The Highway will prove up to the task when he steps up in class for the Ballymore Winter Novices' Hurdle at Sandown.

The son of Duke Of Marmalade was snapped up for £80,000 after winning an Irish point-to-point in February and made an impressive debut under Rules in a novice hurdle at Lingfield last month.

He steps up to Grade Two level on Friday and Lavelle is looking forward to seeing how he fares.

"He's been in really good form since his last run - he came out of that race well," she said.

"He's a lovely young horse and I think this is the right next step for him.

"Any rain that falls will be positive for him, rather than negative.

"We'll see how we go."

Evan Williams went to 180,000 euros to secure Quoi De Neuf after he also impressed in the Irish point-to-point field.

The four-year-old looked the part on his hurdling introduction at Aintree.

"I don't know what to expect, to be honest," said Williams.

"The second and third from his race at Aintree haven't done a lot to frank the form, but I thought he looked a very nice horse that day.

"It's a step up, but where do you go? After winning a maiden hurdle you either carry a penalty or dip your toe in a race like this.

"You wouldn't be concerned about any rain that fell and we'll see how we get on."

A 10-strong field also features Colin Tizzard's Darlac - who was fourth in a Grade Two at Cheltenham last month - Warren Greatrex's runaway Bangor winner Trio For Rio, the Philip Hobbs-trained Truckin Away and Alan King's unbeaten mare Alsa Mix, while Paul Nicholls introduces My Way, a potentially smart French import.

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