Thursday November 24

Alan was making his debut at Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s hugely popular charity lunch in London today, but he’ll be back in business mode tomorrow when we have runners at both Newbury and Doncaster at the start of which looks a potentially exciting week-end.

We have a quartet making the short journey to Newbury, and, assessing their chances, Alan said:”Winner Massagot won a big handicap hurdle at Ascot this time last year, but he cracked his pelvis two races later so we are looking forward to him returning to battle in the Fulke Walwyn Trophy, which will be his chasing debut. He has been very good over fences and schooled on Monday, and it’s a lovely track at which to start him off.

“We also have Hidden Cargo having his first run over jumps in the opening maiden hurdle. He was ready to run in a bumper last spring but developed a bad scope which meant we had to put him away, but it was probably a blessing in disguise as he has thrived for that extra bit of time. He finished third in his first bumper at Newbury three weeks ago, and he is a youngster whom we like and is ready to kick-start his hurdling career.

Chocala returns to jumping in the novices’ hurdle after almost three years absence, but he ran well in three races on the Flat midsummer and with a bit of cut in the ground this looks the perfect place to start back.

“Our other runner at our local course is Board of Trade in the Pertemps Qualifier. He took a heavy fall at Cheltenham but when schooling on Monday showed no effects from that, and this step up in trip should suit him.

“We also run three up at Doncaster. A mark of 120 for The Unit is reasonable enough so he runs in the novices’ handicap hurdle. I was pleased with his run at Kempton, where he stayed on well, and now that he is settling that much better he should appreciate going up in trip here. He’s run well at Town Moor before.

Handsome Sam goes for the staying handicap hurdle qualifier. He lost his way after winning first time out last season, but I’ve been happy with him this autumn and, though the plan is to go chasing, we are starting him back over hurdles.”

“And in between we run Royal Plaza again in the handicap hurdle. He unshipped Will Featherstone at the third at Wetherby on Wednesday, but he was none the worse for that unfortunate mishap so as it is the horse’s last opportunity to run off his old mark, we have opted to go out of character and run him back quickly.”