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Racing: Phar Out has a good chance to beat highly rated favourite.

Byline: Steve Mason

Alan King, who has a two-from-two record with The Hairy Lemon, and (right) Ferdy Murphy, who has found an easy target for Ile Maurice

WITH an RPR of 144, last season's Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle fourth Pole Star is the highest rated performer on show today, but he could be worth opposing on his chasing debut in Leicester's Groby Beginners' Chase (2.00) with the Emma Lavelle-trained Phar Out Phavorite.

Form study and racehorse handicapping is all about trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, and the race in which Phar Out Phavorite finished third on his Newbury chasing debut certainly fits into the former category.

Although the winner of that race, Cornish Sett, has since disappointed in a muddling race at Warwick, those to have raced since finishing behind him have all gone on to return improved figures. The runner-up Green Tango stepped up by 12lb to a RPR of 145 when winning a decent heat at Hereford last week, the fourth Lustral du Seuil improved by 5lb when winning easily at Chepstow, the sixth Tusk has twice run to a 15lb higher mark in defeat, while the last home Mighty Matters ran to an 8lb higher RPR when winning at Towcester.

Given that the winner had previously run to a better figure when looking a shade unlucky against the useful Chilling Place at Exeter, and the fifth Grande Champetre was also judged to have run below the level of his previous two runs over fences, there is a case for rating the race even higher.

As it stands, Phar Out Phavorite is judged to have run to a RPR of 133+ at Newbury, up 13lb on his best hurdle figure, and that despite running without his customary visor on a track that didn't suit. He was kept exclusively to right-handed tracks over hurdles and, judged by the way he repeatedly jumped out to the right at Newbury, right-handed Leicester should be much more to his liking this afternoon.

Provided the ground rides close to the advertised good, he will hopefully be able to build on that Newbury run and sets a high standard for Pole Star to aim at.

Although he cut out much of the running at Newbury he doesn't have to make it, and it's not a massive concern to see habitual front-runner Cossack Dancer and another who often made the running over hurdles, Calatagan, in opposition.

Obviously a peak-form Pole Star would be tough to beat, but his best hurdles form came over further, he was no match for Marcel, and ran an ordinary RPR of 117 on his only try over hurdles at the minimum trip.

solid form Phar out Phavorite

2.00 Leicester

Nap The Hairy Lemon

4.00 Leicester

On the upgrade and unbeaten in two starts for Alan King. Travelled like a horse who still has a fair bit ahead of the handicapper when returning from a two-month break at Warwick last time and can defy a further 7lb rise.

soft target Ile Maurice

2.40 Sedgefield

These mares' only novice races often take little winning and the form of her facile success at Newcastle last month suggests that Ile Maurice will be tough to beat again today.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 10, 2006
Words:541
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