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In-form Newland looks to hold a Wicked chance.

Byline: Race analysis by Graeme Rodway REPORTING BY DAVID MILNES

FOUR of the leading candidates for this competitive handicap hurdle are renewing rivalry having finished behind easy winner Samarrive in a Listed event at Sandown this month.

Miss Heritage fared best of the quartet in fifth, with Hudson De Grugy sixth, Elham Valley eighth and Heure De Gloire ninth. So will that prove the key form in this weaker contest?

It might be a red herring to think it will be because, although that Sandown race is traditionally hot, the field didn't look particularly strong this season and the time wasn't great either. A Topspeed figure of 63 for Miss Heritage is the best of the quartet, which is nothing special.

Furthermore, Samarrive and Sandown fourth Benson both competed in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot on Saturday and didn't set the world alight. Samarrive was a long way behind when pulled up two out and Benson finished 27 lengths behind the winner in eighth.

That puts a doubt over whether the race should be followed and, with so many of the market principals having run in the contest, the value is probably with avoiding the event altogether.

Richard Newland enjoyed a fantastic weekend at Haydock, winning the Tommy Whittle with Enqarde and a big handicap hurdle with

Jesuitique. The good doctor bids for another hurdle success with Wicked West, who is reunited with Sam Twiston-Davies and he is 2-3 on board.

The Dan Skelton-trained Calico has won on heavy ground, but most of his best form has come on good and Lingfield heavy is about as testing as it gets. That is ideal for Monsieur Lecoq, who loves mud and is back hurdling after a spell chasing. He completes the line-up.

What they say Dan Skelton, trainer of Calico We thought he'd go close first time at Ffos Las but it didn't happen and I think the trip was too far last time. He's back at two miles and we've been desperate to run him on this type of ground for a while, which should be more his cup of tea.

Gary Moore, trainer of Hudson De Grugy He ran well first time out this season but not so well last time and hopefully he should better served by heavy ground, which he's won on before. Hopefully, he'll be okay but he does have plenty of weight. Lucy Wadham, trainer of Miss Heritage We've been waiting for heavy ground such as this for her as she acts really well on it, but she does have a bit of weight to carry. She's run well on goodto-soft ground twice this season but this should be more up her street.

Richard Newland, trainer of Wicked West We've been looking forward to running him on heavy ground as these Westerners like it slow. He's been a bit out of form but hopefully he can bounce back.

Fergal O'Brien, trainer of Elham Valley When he ran at Sandown last time one or two of ours were not firing and he was one of them, so hopefully he's over that. He's down in class and should like the ground, so we're giving it another go.

RACE IN FOCUS 2.00 Lingfield Casumo Horse Racing And Sports Betting Handicap Hurdle 2m Sky Card and Spotlight, page 32


Sean Says (nearest) jumps the last before winning the Molony Cup Handicap Chase at Thurles yesterday. Report, page 8


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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Race analysis by Graeme Rodway REPORTING BY DAVID MILNES
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 20, 2021
Previous Article:'We've all got to get better' - Scudamore in call for change.

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