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IT COULD BE ROO; THE BACK-PAGE BET Be a big winner by backing Court to follow up for Lavelle.

Byline: Matt Williams pinpoints a novice hurdler full of promise

WHAT a fabulous day's racing jump fans have got to look forward to, with Haydock and Ascot bursting at the seams in both quality and quantity.

Master Minded isn't a betting proposition for the vast majority of punters in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot, but you can count on a few brave souls looking to buy some money and getting stuck into him at long odds-on. Good luck to them.

Paul Nicholls' champion chaser is the star attraction on the card, but the horse I am most looking forward to seeing is the Emma Lavelle-trained Kangaroo Court (3.55).

The five-year-old was impressive when winning an Irish point last March, and the promise he showed on his bumper debut on this course, when clearly lacking race fitness, hinted strongly at what he subsequently achieved at Doncaster last month.

Lavelle's horses are usually well backed when they are expected to do the business, and Kangaroo Court's 8-1 starting price at Doncaster wasn't what I was expecting. Granted, it was his hurdling debut, but his point win proved he could jump and the negative market vibes probably put a lot of people off that day.

Still, Kangaroo Court had no knowledge of the market, and the way he cruised through the race and quickened after the third-last marks him down as a top-class prospect.

The form probably didn't look great at the time, but the 17-length runner-up Honest John beat a nice prospect at Catterick yesterday with the second finishing a long way clear of the third.

This is by no means a walkover and the presence of the Alan King-trained Karabak will tell us whether Kangaroo Court is worthy of the hype. Having said that, King's horse is conceding 4lb to Kangaroo Court and will have to be a high-class hurdler to give the weight away.

Our Bomber Harris is representing the all-powerful Nicholls yard, but I feel he has achieved a lot less than some of the others near the head of the market, including the selection.

If you wanted to find fault with Lavelle's horse, you could say he pulls a bit too hard through his races and that style of running tends to be highlighted in a negative sense when upped in grade. He has had a couple of runs now, and it is to be hoped the edge has been knocked off him and he can race more evenly, thus preserving his finishing kick for the closing stages.

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Kangaroo Court: top-class prospect
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2009
Words:428
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