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Horse Racing: An Accordion can bounce back to form in blinkers; Big-race analysis.

Byline: GERALD DELAMERE

Sky Bet Handicap Chase

3.00 Doncaster L'Ami is finally given half a chance by the handicapper with a drop of 8lb for his two runs in Britain this season. He has got to be considered on his form behind Kauto Star last season and five winners of this race carried 11st 7lbplus between 1988 and 1998.

The form of the Haydock handicap Opera Mundi won in November has been franked and he looked to have a big chance in the abandoned Peter Marsh Chase last week, but this race is more competitive. He has won three of his five runs over fences and his defeats were when racing right-handed on good ground.

Course and trip look ideal.

Alderburn comes here fresh after his stable closed down for a short period before a winner on Wednesday. He will love the drying ground and ran an excellent race behind Vodka Bleu at Ascot when his yard was out of form.

Ungaro looked as though he was going to the top of the chasing tree but hasn't got over an early mistake in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase. Dropped 9lb this season, he is still higher than any winner since Bregawn in 1982.

Rambling Minster is up 9lb for winning a four-miler at Kelso that was much less competitive than this race. A blunder three out spoilt his chance at Haydock last time and this trip could be too sharp for him.

Idle Talk unseated his rider for the fifth time in seven races in the Welsh National. Ground conditions will suit him better and a 6lb drop for his latest mishap leaves him on an interesting mark as he teams up with Graham Lee for the first time.

Harmony Brig hasn't been good enough on his forays south to Cheltenham or Ascot, but he is seldom out of the first three in the north. His Newcastle win last month hasn't worked out well.

An Accordion won two of his three races over fences last season but failed to recover from a run in heavy ground at Cheltenham last January. He was well backed and in the process of running a good race when a mistake four out nearly brought him to a halt back at Cheltenham last time. He is potentially much better than he has shown and firsttime headgear has worked for many of his stable's runners.

Yardbird, recently equipped with blinkers, won well at Kempton last time and should have little to fear from third-placed Thistlecraft. Yardbird gives the impression he doesn't want the ground any worse than good to soft, so the improvement in conditions has been in his favour.

Bagan will appreciate the dry ground and this new level surface may ride better than the official description. He has taken well to fences since May, winning three times in small fields.

Dusky Warbler hasn't been blunder-free in his four races over fences, but he enjoys soft ground and has bits of smart hurdle form at major festivals.

Our Armageddon was better than this before his latest period off with injury. He should come on from his recent comeback run, but will it be enough?

Ma Yahab won at Uttoxeter recently four days after being pulled up at Wetherby, but whether it warranted a 9lb rise for his first handicap over fences is open to doubt.

Selection An Accordion

Alternative Alderburn
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 26, 2008
Words:565
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