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Write a Blanc check at Wincanton.

Byline: By Nick Grant

De Blanc ran a fine race in defeat last time and can gain compensation in the Blue Square Casino Handicap Hurdle at Wincanton tomorrow.

The Venetia Williams-trained mare was beaten a total of three lengths in finishing third to Bongo Fury and Dancing Pearl at Doncaster.

But the form has worked out a treat. Bongo Fury has come out to run an absolute blinder behind the Champion Hurdle-bound Essex in the Tote Gold Trophy at Newbury, while Dancing Pearl has won with something in hand back at the South Yorkshire track.

Winner of the three of her eight starts over timber, De Blanc runs off the same mark tomorrow and a reproduction of her last effort will make her hard to beat.

Saucy Night has improved out of all recognition since Marlborough handler Simon Earle elected to dispense with racing shoes for his nine-year-old.

He finally lost his maiden tag at Folkestone in January and showed that was no fluke with a most creditable second off a 9lb-higher mark at the same venue later that month.

The improvement ( connections feel he has proved around 50 lengths better since the shoes were discarded ( continued at Fontwell in February where he bolted up under champion jockey Tony McCoy.

By the time he was last seen at tomorrow's venue, also in February, he had risen a total of 25lb in the handicap. But he nearly pulled off another win, only going down by a short-head to Almost Broke with a bad mistake at the second-last costing him dear.

It seems rather harsh that the handicapper has seen fit to raise the admirable gelding by another 3lb on the back of such a narrow defeat in what was a fairly ordinary affair.

But there is no denying he is in the form of his life and he should be firmly involved in the finish of the Blue Square 0800 587 0200 Handicap Chase.

Make My Hay looks capable of opening his account over hurdles in the two-mile Brian Goodyear's National Ante-Post Services Handicap Hurdle at Towcester. Successful twice on the Flat earlier in his career, the six-year-old gelding has shown plenty of promise so far in just eight outings over hurdles.

Polar Gunner looks poised to complete a fine hat-trick by landing the Canonbie Handicap Chase at Carlisle.

Set to give away weight to all of his rivals, Malcolm Jefferson's lightly raced eight-year-old has really come into his own this season over fences, scoring over two miles at Sedgefield back in January, making all to win in effortless style by 16 lengths.

He seemed to fade over an extra half mile at Newcastle next time, but has since regained the winning habit, landing back-to-back races over two miles and a furlong at Bangor and Market Rasen, running on in determined style last time under Tony Dobbin to score by a comfortable six lengths.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 9, 2005
Words:483
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