Tom Scudamore makes the long journey north to team up with Vieux Lion Rouge at Sedgefield today and looks like enjoying an armchair ride on the Devon raider.
Trained by David Pipe, Vieux Lion Rouge has won both his hurdle starts at Wincanton in impressive style, scoring by four lengths the first time and a facile six lengths on his latest start three weeks ago.
Vieux Lion Rouge has a 12lb penalty to overcome in the Betfred Novices Hurdle (Qualifier), but that extra burden should not trouble this exciting gelding, who is rated 132 and who looks poised to compete in some much bigger contests at forthcoming festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree.
The lengthy trip taken by Scudamore should not be in vain.
Yorkshire’s Grand National-winning winner Sue Smith has double prospects with Persian Herald and Bennys Well.
Persian Herald lines up in the opening Compare Bookmakers At bookmakers.co.uk Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
A winner at Southwell two outings ago, he has since finished a decent fourth at Catterick. He should go well under Jonathan England, who knows him well.
Bennys Well is long overdue a winning turn. The eight-year-old has finished second on his last three starts at Southwell, Uttoxeter and Catterick.
He has something to prove trying to win from out of the weights in the Sedgefield Can’t Wait Until October Handicap Chase, but he is in such good form, he might prove a tempting alternative to the hat-trick seeking Arc Warrior, who has been hiked up 13lb in the handicap.
Newmarket trainer Don Cantillon is a shrewd operator with his small string and Truckers Darling can win for him in the Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.
A winner at Southwell and Carlisle on her last two starts, Truckers Darling has gone up only 4lb for her latest success and promises to be hard to beat under Kieron Edgar, who has already won on her.
Ayr’s meeting is subject to a precautionary dawn inspection.
Nick Alexander will be hoping the green light is granted on behalf of Frankie’s Promise, who won a bumper on this course last season and who has run well in defeat over hurdles this term.
Runner-up here on his latest start, he is fancied to go one better in the Kerr & Smith Ayr DAF Maiden Hurdle.
Scimon Templar gets the nap vote in the Q8Oils Handicap Hurdle.
Pauline Robson’s gelding was beaten only a nose at Newcastle on his reappearance, but failed to back up that performance when only fourth next time on this track when he was stepped up from two to two and a half miles. He is back to the minimum trip this afternoon and is napped to come out on top.
Also worth noting are two recent winner, Oil Burner (4.20) and Final Assault (4.50).
2.00 Persian Herald, 2.30 Vieux Lion Rouge, 3.00 Wave Breaker, 3.30 Truckers Darling, 4.00 Bennys Well, 4.30 Decent Lord, 5.00 Starplex.
2.20 Frankie’s Promise, 2.50 Rock Relief, 3.20 Scimon Templar (NAP), 3.50 Up And Go, 4.20 Oil Burner, 4.50 Final Assault, 5.20 Flying Eagle.
Today’s other meetings: Huntingdon and Wolverhampton.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Exeter, Warwick, Lingfield and Wolverhampton.