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Horse Racing: Obrigado should not be missed now he takes a significant drop in class.

Byline: Pietro Innocenzi

Chess Board

2.30 Fontwell

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Looked to have taken well to hurdles before jinking and unseating rider on jumps debut at Newton Abbot last time with the race at his mercy

Has scope for improvement with very few miles on the clock and not hard to see him running up a sequence before the season starts in earnest if he gets his head together

Needs to prove Newton Abbot was an aberration, and this looks a bit tougher with a couple of previous winners and an interesting contender from the Christian Von Der Recke yard

There's no doubt Chess Board would have made a winning hurdles debut if he had allowed Richard Johnson to remain in the saddle and, hopefully, we can put that down to him still being green with only a handful of runs under his belt. He'd be a much shorter price here if he had, so we're on a winner without a penalty.

He had earlier appeared a typically unexposed stayer for Sir Mark Prescott on the Flat and it will be surprising if Philip Hobbs fails to get a couple of wins into him. Left Hand Drive looks the main danger, having slammed Canopus - who had previously beaten Mambo Sun, a runner today - last time.

Gimasha

3.40 Lingfield

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Course and distance winner who looked on way back when runner-up to the fast-improving Hogmaneigh at Sandown

Well suited to bowling along in front and good chance she'll be allowed to do so here with no obvious rival for the lead

Kerrin McEvoy who is a brilliant judge of pace from the front, is in the saddle for the first time

Yet to get her head in front this season and will need to produce a career-best effort to take this

Gimasha was highly progressive last season, rattling up a hat-trick on fast ground, but she hadn't seen much action this term and was in danger of disappearing off the radar before bouncing back to form at Sandown eight days ago, when she caught a tartar in the shape of leading Ayr Gold Cup fancy Hogmaneigh. If that wasn't a false dawn, it's easy to see McEvoy bouncing her out, grabbing the stands' rail and playing a cat-and-mouse game in front, in which case she should prove difficult to pass.

Obrigado

4.10 Lingfield

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Returns to all-weather on the back of some consistent efforts in decent turf handicaps

This represents a big drop in grade as he goes into a claimer for first time - four starts ago he wasn't beaten far in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot

Plenty of solid form on Polytrack to his name and has won round here before looks pretty competitive for a claimer and he'd be better off at the weights with a couple of these in a handicap

William Haggas probably can't believe that Obrigado only has a Kempton handicap win in April to his name this season, as he's run some cracking races in defeat and appears as good as ever at the age of six. The trainer rarely dips his toe into this grade, and his runners command plenty of respect when he does, especially one with the ability of Obrigado.

He's not the most straightforward ride and can leave himself with too much to do, but Darryll Holland knows him pretty well and there should be no excuses for getting behind in this company.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 3, 2006
Words:576
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