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Racing: Monger Lane to follow up as form of course win looks solid.

Byline: Steve Mason

THE Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry Handicap Chase (2.50) looks the most interesting race on Leicester's all-chase card and, although a case can be made for a few runners, there are grounds for thinking recent course-anddistance winner Monger Lane should be good enough to follow up.

Kevin Bishop's mare twice earned Racing Post Ratings of 120 in a hurdling career that included a win in a Listed mares' handicap at Cheltenham, but her career over fences before that success suggested she wouldn't be anything like as good a chaser, her only victory coming in a match at Towcester in January 2004.

However, she had shown the ability was still there when running out a wide-margin winner back over hurdles at Exeter in April and, following a couple of unpromising subsequent efforts over hurdles, she earned an RPR of 109+ when winning here last time - and that form could not have worked out better.

The runner-up, Three dream still a live, hasn't been out since but Fin Bec (third), Boardroom Dancer (fourth), Jack Fuller (seventh), Lord Broadway (eighth) and Glen Thyne (tenth) have all won subsequently and, if in the same sort of form this afternoon, an 8lb rise in the handicap is unlikely to stop my selection.

However, it clearly is an 'if' as her trainer reported she had health problems after that recent win, and she is far from certain to repeat that level of performance today.

But it is worth pointing out that she did manage to string two good runs together last April. She is an in-form, well-handicapped course-and distance winner and, at the forecast price, she is well worth chancing.

On figures, there is no obvious big danger, although recent Market Rasen runner-up Hawk's Landing was a fair bit better than his current rating in his prime. It remains to be seen just how good that latest run was and the percentage call is to oppose him.

Merry Storm struck a rich vein of form at the turn of the year and, but for running through the rails on the run-in at Towcester, would already have three wins under his belt this season.

He has been given a break since finishing third at Ludlow and, given that was his fourth run in the space of three weeks and came on ground probably faster than ideal, it is not unreasonable to think he could progress again.

However, he will need to if he is to cope with a peak-form selection, and he is tackling a better class of opposition today.

The Martin Pipe-trained chasing debutant Yes My Lord is the random factor in the race, but he is not obviously well handicapped on the strength of his hurdle form.

Today's bets

Monger Lane

2.50 Leicester Nap

Aces Four

2.10 Catterick

Ahead of the handicapper Value for much further than the winning margin of seven lengths at Ludlow last week on his debut for the Ferdy Murphy stable. Admittedly, that wasn't a good race, but this isn't any better and, given that he will probably be asked to run off a much higher mark when the new handicap listings are published, a 7lb penalty is unlikely to stop him following up.

Dark Ben

4.40 Catterick

Solid form

Shaped as if a step up in trip would suit on his last couple of starts, and both his second to Welcome To Unos here and his Sedgefield third behind Vicario look solid efforts. This rates an easier assignment and he can get off the mark over fences.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 28, 2006
Words:592
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