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Defence Council debate rages as Mel Brittain sends gelding to Ayr
Defence Council, without a win for more than two years, can make his long journey from York to Scotland worthwhile tomorrow by getting back in the winning groove.
The gelding, trained at Warthill by Mel Brittain, heads to rain-sodden Ayr for the first division of the Giles Insurance Handicap and has strong claims on the back of his latest heavy-ground effort at Haydock where he got to within a neck of the highly-regarded and unbeaten Take Cover.
Defence Council has won only once in 30 attempts – at Ripon in the summer of 2010 – but he has run some solid races in defeat this season and would hardly be winning out of turn if he comes up trumps here.
Brittain also has a bright chance in the opening Giles Insurance Maiden Stakes with the promising Mister Marcasite, but marginal preference is for Duke Of Yorkshire, trained at Sledmere by Declan Carroll.
The juvenile, a likeable son of Duke Of Marmalade, has shaped well in both his races, not least at Haydock last time when he finished a creditable fourth in maiden company over this distance. He is taken to make it third time lucky.
David Barron continues in good form and the Thirsk trainer has chances of a double with Fieldgunner Kirkup (3.40) and nap selection Heroic Endeavour (4.10).
Soft ground is the key to Fieldgunner Kirkup, who has won at Thirsk on his last two starts, each time on an easy surface. The handicapper may well have caught up with him now, but with conditions in his favour, there may be a little more to come yet.
Heroic Endeavour is a newcomer to Barron’s Maunby yard near Thirsk. The Irish recruit scored on his first run for Barron at Hamilton nearly three weeks ago. He acted well on heavy ground that day and with similar conditions expected at Ayr, he can make a bold bid.
David O’Meara must be frustrated at not having won a race with Robert The Painter, who has been narrowly denied in his last two starts at Thirsk and Hamilton. The four-year-old gets another chance to put the record straight in the Giles Insurance Corporate Handicap.
At Kempton’s evening meeting, a note should be made of Mundahesh in the second division of the 32Red/British Stallion Studs Maiden Stakes.
Trained by William Haggas, and the mount of Paul Hanagan, Mundahesh shaped with plenty of promise when third at Yarmouth on his debut. He should have derived considerable benefit from that outing.
The first division of the same race has been chosen to host the debut of Aglaophonos, trained by Roger Varian. The two-year-old is nicely bred and is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 32Red Conditions Stakes looks a tight race but there is a lot to like about the claims of Oasis Cannes, trained by Sir Mark Prescott.
2.10 Duke Of Yorkshire, 2.40 Slipstream Angel, 3.10 Defence Council, 3.40 Fieldgunner Kirkup, 4.10 Heroic Endeavour (NAP), 4.40 Amaze, 5.10 Ebony Clarets, 5.40 Robert The Painter.
5.20 Far East, 5.50 Aglaophonos, 6.20 Mundahesh, 6.50 Warrant Officer, 7.20 Oasis Cannes, 7.50 Mabait, 8.20 Roc de Prince, 8.50 Volcanic Jack.
Tomorrow’s other meetings
Exeter and Worcester.
Kempton, Ludlow, Nottingham and Towcester.