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Houlihan can coax the best out of Fred Bear.

Byline: Race analysis by Graeme Rodway REPORTING BY DAVID MILNES

RACE IN FOCUS 3.35 Ludlow Don't Miss A Beat With RACINGTV Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle 2m RTV Card and Spotlight, page 37

NIALL HOULIHAN has ridden more winners in races confined to conditional jockeys than any other rider in this event, but he will need all his experience to get the best from the freegoing Fred Bear.

Regular rider Marc Goldstein has struck up a good relationship with Fred Bear and nobody knows the horse better, so it's definitely a negative that he isn't able to ride. However, Houlihan has got the best out of some tricky customers himself recently.

He almost managed to coax a victory out of the perennially clumsy The Mighty Don at Cheltenham recently, for example, and made all on another free-going frontrunner, Editeur Du Gite, on the first day of the November meeting. Houlihan will bid to do the same here.

Daire McConville, who rides Orchard Grove, is a less familiar name but he partnered Orchard Grove to victory in an amateur jockeys' event at Stratford in the summer. That was the rider's first winner under rules and now he is a claiming professional.

A 10lb allowance is a big plus for a jockey who had experience in the Irish point field. It will be a surprise if

McConville can't add to his tally in the near future.

What they say Kerry Lee, trainer of Orchard Grove I've walked the track and it's nice, quick ground, which will suit him, and hopefully he can continue his winning run.

Daire McConville, who won on him three starts ago as an amateur, has his second ride as a professional on him and we fancy them to go well. Evan Williams, trainer of Peterborough He's lost his confidence over fences, which is why he's back over hurdles, and he ran a great race last time considering he pulled a shoe off. Hopefully he won't be long in winning again and then we can send him back chasing.

Dominic Ffrench Davis, trainer of James Park Woods He didn't jump well when the ground was a bit tacky for him at Kempton last time and hopefully this sounder surface should suit him better. He's definitely capable of winning over hurdles and hopefully he can be in the mix.

Milton Harris, trainer of Sergeant He's a ground-dependent horse to a point, so the current dry spell has served him well. The jockey may well have got there too soon on him at Plumpton last time but there are plenty of positives and he's been in great form at home since his break.

Sheena West, trainer of Fred Bear He's a bit of a tearaway, so we expect the track to suit him, as will the trip and the ground. I just wish it wasn't a conditional jockeys' race, though we've got a decent rider in Niall Houlihan.

CAPTION(S):

Clarens and Jack Foley lead over the last flight before winning the Navan Handicap Hurdle yesterday

PATRICK MCCANN (RACINGPOST.COM/PHOTOS)

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Race analysis by Graeme Rodway REPORTING BY DAVID MILNES
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 22, 2021
Words:506
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