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Racing: Mann confident weight rise 1 won't stop mudlark Native; Haydock briefing.

Byline: Reporter: Tony Elves

2.20 Novice handicap chase (3m)

Notable runners

Some in-form rivals in this trappy looking event with the weights headed by Victory Gunner, who races off a 9lb higher mark after beating Fin Bec by seven lengths over an extended three and a half miles at Market Rasen on Boxing Day. Koumba is another to incur the handicapper's wrath and has been raised 9lb for an easy seven-length success at Newbury at the end of November. Another Native got off the mark over fences here this season and won again when stepped up in trip at Uttoxeter a week ago. Lord Brock returns for his first outing in 294 days for his chasing bow. Toon Trooper looks to confirm the impression made at Bangor last month.

Quotes

Craig Roberts, trainer of Victory Gunner "The horse is in real good form and it was a learning curve for us at Market Rasen last time as we didn't know he'd be suited by such extreme distances. He is on ground he wants - the further he goes the better he gets."

Evan Williams, trainer of Koumba "I have been waiting to find the right race for him and was looking for another novice handicap chase. He won well at Newbury over three miles and we've taken a few pounds off by putting our claiming rider on him." Charlie Mann, trainer of Another Native "The handicapper has put him up 11lb but I don't think that will stop him. He's got the two at the top to beat, but he loves it round Haydock and the bottomless ground will suit him."

Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Lord Brock. "He might just need the run and the horses are struggling to cope with the ground, but he is very well."

Seamus Mullins, trainer of Special Conquest "He has disappointed in his last two runs but finished runner-up over fences at Haydock last February. He has been working well and I am expecting a big run from him." Ginger McCain, trainer of Bannister Lane "He comes from a very good jumping family but has been a shade disappointing. He's fit and we would be hopeful of a tidy run, but it's a matter of whether he can handle the heavy ground."

Carol Lee, wife of Richard Lee, trainer of Toon Trooper "He came to us from Jonjo's and we put him over fences but he had a little bit of bad luck early on. He finished second last time at Bangor and we feel three miles will suit him better, but we wanted to get his confidence back over fences. We are still on a learning curve with him, but Mark Nicholls came and schooled him on Thursday and he was fine."

3.55 Handicap chase (2m4f)

Notable runners

Aristoxene had the third well beaten when failing by only half a length behind Il'Athou over course and distance in November, but proved a disappointing favourite at Newbury later that month. Schuh Shine won over a similar trip at Sandown in November before appearing to find three miles stretching his stamina here last month. He races off a 2lb lower mark. Nowator has done all his winning at around two miles and was driven out to beat Mistral de la Cour by three lengths here last month. Sir Storm is another with recent winning form and enjoyed the run of the race when bouncing back at Wetherby on Boxing Day. The Villager was having his first outing since March when fifth to Bannow Strand at Cheltenham in November. The veteran Barton Nic returned to winning form when scoring easily at Plumpton on New Year's Day and makes a quick reappearance under a 7lb penalty.

Quotes

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Aristoxene "He loves the track, prefers to go left-handed and likes soft ground."

George Moore, trainer of Sir Storm "His jumping won him his race at Wetherby on Boxing Day and I was surprised he went up as much as 6lb. That was his first win over two and a half miles and he has come back in good shape, so we are forced to run him. He likes these tracks where you have to jump the fences. We would be very very hopeful."

Philip Hobbs, trainer of Christopher

"He's been disappointing but seems fine at home. He has won on soft but probably wouldn't want it too heavy."

Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of You Owe Me "I hope he can cope with the ground - a few of ours are struggling to handle the soft ground - but he is very well."

Tom George, trainer of The Villager "He is in great order and I have been pleased with him. He had a small setback after his run at Cheltenham in November which is why he hasn't run, but he's ready now."

Paul Keane, trainer of Barton Nic "He is 13 now, but won two chases on heavy ground in the space of five days last season and the ground will suit. He will be on a revised mark from next week, so we have to run him, but he has come out of the race very well."

CAPTION(S):

Koumba: claimer Tom Dreaper takes 5lb off following a 9lb rise after win at Newbury
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2006
Words:878
Previous Article:Other: Henderson confident three miles is ideal for Liberthine.
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