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Makounji earns 10-1 quote for Festival; Pipe mare bowls out rivals in handicap hurdle, but future could lie over fences.

nMakounji added to a successful day for French breds when landing the Aldermaston Novices' Chase by eight lengths, writes Jon Lees.

The mare, shouldering a stone less than her opponents, took full advantage to defeat Potentate with the stronger sprint from the last fence.

But the race lost some of its interest with the departure of Kurakka, who fell at the seventh.

William Hill and Coral cut Makounji to 10-1 from 12-1 and 14-1 respectively for the Guinness Arkle Trophy. Potentate and Kurakka are both 16-1 with Hills.

However, following this display, connections will also consider the two- and- a-half-mile Cathcart Chase for Makounji.

"They have actually gone a bloody good gallop and she just took her time to get into it," said winning trainer Nicky Henderson.

"We would like to go for the Pendil Novices' Chase at Kempton and then have another think. We are lucky the Cathcart is a five-day closing race."

Martin Pipe indicated that the handicap chases might prove better options than the championship races at Cheltenham for Potentate.

nDavid Nicholson's hopes for Tiutchev in today's big race were given a boost when he won with both his runners on yesterday's card, Picket Piece and Flying Gunner, writes Graham Dench.

Both were ridden by Richard Johnson, who was seen to great effect when forcing Flying Gunner up on the line in the Levy Board Handicap Hurdle.

Flying Gunner is a hard ride and Robert Thornton received a whip ban when getting him home at Uttoxeter.

Johnson was under strict orders here, and carried them out to the letter.

Nicholson said: "We're all conscious of the whip issue and this horse marks. I made Richard use an air-cushioned whip and he's kicked and pushed for nearly two miles. He's ridden a superb race and Flying Gunner isn't marked."

nCountry Star is proving a good advertisement for Ed James' skill as a trainer and followed up last month's Fakenham win by beating Native Fling in the Hampshire Handicap Chase.

nThere was a sad postscript to the hunter chase when Orchestral Suite was dismounted on the horse-walk after beating Halham Tarn by 19 lengths.

The 11-year-old has been a great servant, but one has to wonder if this is the end of the road after seeing him taken away in the horse-ambulance.

nCarl Llewellyn was cautioned as to his future use of the whip after using it with excessive frequency in persuading Pimberley Place to jump off in the Eastleigh Hurdle. Nigel Twiston-Davies was satisfied with the horse's behaviour and says he will go chasing next time.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Lees, Jon
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 13, 1999
Previous Article:Quel Senor finds victory a struggle.
Next Article:Newbury: Cricket enters Arkle reckoning.

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