London – Lord Yeats missed the mark on his hurdles bow but after righting that disappointment last time out, he can kick on again with another victory at Kelso on Sunday.
The six-year-old was rated as high as 108 on the Flat after some good efforts, including when winning a Listed race back in 2017.
However, after a reasonable campaign last year, Jedd O’Keeffe has decided to have a pop over obstacles and Lord Yeats was widely expected to kick off with a win at Wetherby in November.
His jumping was far from slick as he finished second that day, but the experience was clearly not lost on him as he strolled home at Sedgefield on Boxing Day, putting in a much sharper performance.
Lord Yeats must shoulder a winner’s penalty in the Tarrag Naegel Novices’ Hurdle and it will be interesting to see how he matches up to his Wetherby conqueror, Encore Champs, again here.
Lough Derg Jewel is another who arrives on the crest of a wave for Donald McCain in the Racing TV Free For A Month Handicap Chase.
The eight-year-old put a year-long lean spell behind him when winning at Doncaster last month and, while the handicapper has done him no favours in raising his mark to 130, Lough Derg Jewel’s confidence should at least be riding high.
Dimple can make it a quick course double in the William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Handicap Chase.
The eight-year-old was a multiple point-to-point winner a couple of years ago, but had failed to convert that promise under rules before a convincing eight-length win at Newcastle at the start of December.
Sandy Thomson then switched him to hurdles to win at Kelso before the turn of the year, forcing his rating up to 123 ahead of this task back over the bigger obstacles.
That hurdle appeared to be a competitive enough heat and Dimple can go on from that.
Vivernus’ mark took a battering for his wide-margin win at Southwell, but he cannot be ruled out of the Betway Casino Handicap back at the Nottinghamshire venue.
The six-year-old plied his trade in Dubai before switching to Adrian Nicholls’ care and he soon made an impact, winning three times in his first eight starts for the trainer.
He claimed what appeared only a modest heat by 13 lengths on his final start of 2018, but the Southwell Fibresand certainly seems to suit and course experience can be pretty important here.
Mininggold is another who seemingly thrives at the Nottinghamshire circuit and she can make it a hat-trick for Michael Dods in the Betway Sprint Handicap.
The capable Paula Muir takes off a valuable 2.5kf – as she did when the duo triumphed earlier this month – and Mininggold is still on an attractive mark.
There is some top-notch action on offer at Punchestown and Winter Escape can strike a blow for Aidan Howard against some of the bigger yards in the Total Event Rental Novice Chase.
He was a cosy six-length winner of a Cork Grade Three on his most recent outing and the recent settled spell of weather has made sure the conditions remain in his favour.
Harrie made hard work of winning on his hurdles bow but should strip fitter in the Grade Two Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle. – Press Association
SELECTIONS (UK times):
KELSO: 12.30 Trixster, 1.00 LORD YEATS (NAP), 1.35 Diamond King, 2.05 Dimple, 2.40 Choochoobugaloo, 3.10 Lough Derg Jewel, 3.40 Wood Pigeon.
PUNCHESTOWN: 12.40 Young Paddymc, 1.15 Winter Escape, 1.45 Oscar Lantern, 2.20 Aherlow, 2.50 Harrie, 3.20 Cray, 3.50 Tara Dylan.
SOUTHWELL: 12.20 Champagne Mondays, 12.50 Sense Of Direction, 1.25 Mininggold, 1.55 Vivernus, 2.30 Thunder Buddy, 3.00 Essential.
DOUBLE: Lord Yeats and Lough Derg Jewel.