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Racing: Cristoforo seeks Carnival qualification; Today's action Haydock briefing.

Byline: Reporter: Tony Elves

CRISTOFORO could book his passage to the Dubai Carnival when the progressive nine-year-old takes on seven rivals at Lingfield.

The Barney Curley-trained gelding returns to the all-weather for the first time since notching a hat-trick at Britain's three all-weather venues at the end of 2002.

Since then Cristoforo has shown he was on the upgrade when rattling off a four-timer in 2004 which pushed his rating from a perch of 55 to 66.

The son of Perugino was then a comfortable two-and-a-half-length winner from All Star at Sandown in July off a mark of 80 before receiving further clout from the handicapper when beaten only three-quarters of a length by Send in tank in the Mallard

Handicap at Doncaster in September. He ended his turf season with another solid effort when fourth to Ouninpohja over a mile and a half at Newmarket later that month.

He races off a mark of 95 today and something around 100 is likely to be necessary to get into the Carnival, which is due to begin in 12 days' time.

BANNOW STRAND, beaten into second at 4-7 at Haydock on his latest run, returns to the course for the two-and-a-half-mile novice chase. The Martin Pipe-trained six-year-old, an impressive winner at Cheltenham on his previous start, will be ridden by 7lb claimer Andrew Glassonbury.

VENETIA WILLIAMS sends out her first runner for owner Paul Beck when Magico lines up for the two-and-a-quarter-mile novice chase at Fontwell. Beck moved 17 horses to Williams from Richard Guest's stable last month, ironically on the day Magico won at Leicester for his former trainer.

MARCUS FOLEY returns to action at Haydock after seven weeks out with a broken right wrist sustained in a first-fence fall from Juveigneur in the Becher Chase at Aintree.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2006
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