Thirsk trainer David Barron can scoop the two big prizes on offer today at Wolverhampton’s biggest meeting of the year.
The shewd Barron saddles Bertiewhittle in the Ladbrokes Lady Wulfruna Stakes and Tres Coronas in the Ladbrokes Lincoln Trial Handicap, two races with £50,000 up for grabs.
Bertiewhittle ran twice in Meydan earlier this year and shaped with promise each time before finishing third at Lingfield a fortnight ago on his return from Dubai.
This seven furlongs Listed race looks ideal for him and he is napped to give Graham Gibbons a good ride.
Gibbons will also be aboard Tres Coronas, who showed consistent form last season and ended up finishing an excellent third in the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket.
He is entitled to go well in this race before heading to Doncaster in three weeks for the Lincoln, which is also the target for another of today’s runners, Global Village, trained by Brian Ellison.
Global Village was narrowly beaten into second by Levitate in last year’s Lincoln, but Ellison feels today’s turning track will be against him.
In the Compare Bookmaker@bookmakers.co.uk Handicap, Barron has another good chance with Hitchens.
The eight-year-old is not as good as he once was and he may have to play a supporting role to the progressive Trojan Rocket, winner of his last two races for Newmarket trainer Michael Wigham.
Also worth noting are the speedy Come On Dave (4.05) and Euro Charline (5.45), successful here last year on his only start as a juvenile.
At Sandown, the feature race is the William Hill Imperial Cup in which Baltimore Rock is taken to continue the wonderful record in this race of David Pipe and his father Martin.
While Pipe senior won it no fewer than six times, his son has since chalked up a brace of wins and last year just missed out to a 20-1 winner when saddling both the second and the third.
Baltimore Rock has a progressive profile, has raced only four times this season, winning twice, and figures at the right side of the handicap. Tom Scudamore rides.
Caroline Bailey, who had a winner at Southwell earlier in the week, has her team in good form and Noble Legend has good prospects of keeping the flag flying in the williamhill.com Handicap Chase.
A Wetherby winner over the Christmas meeting, Noble Legend finished a good second at Leicester on his latest start. He has a good chance here, despite being burdened with top weight. Andrew Thornton maintains the partnership.
Fergal O’Brien has a useful mare in Pitter Patter, who has won both her starts to date at Towcester and Newbury.
The four-year-old receives an age allowance in the Listed National Hunt Flat Race and with Connor Shoemark also taking off 5lb, she can make the most of her featherweight burden.
Oliver Sherwood placed Carry On Sydney to win at Market Rasen two outings ago and the four-year-old has since finished second at Wincanton.
He will not find it easy to shoulder top weight in the William Hill Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, but he has improved with each of his three starts. There may be more to come. Leighton Aspell rides.
Strollawaynow is building a likeable profile. Although a beaten favourite last time out, he may atone in the European Breeders Fund Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final.
• TOM O’RYAN will be hosting a pre-Cheltenham gathering at the Nag’s Head, in Heworth, tomorrow at 7.30pm. Colin Russell, of the Racing Post, and Andrew Sheret, of Timeform, will also be appearing. Proceeds are in aid of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
1.30 Carry On Sydney, 2.05 Strollawaynow, 2.40 Noble Legend, 3.15 Baltimore Rock, 3.50 Pitter Patter, 4.25 Witness In Court, 5.00 Ice ‘N’ Easy.
2.20 Bertiewhittle (NAP), 2.55 Tres Coronas, 3.30 Anipa, 4.05 Come On Dave, 4.40 Trojan Rocket, 5.15 Sagesse, 5.45 Euro Charline.
Today’s other meetings: Ayr and Chepstow.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Market Rasen and Warwick.