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Racing: Simber Hill set for victory role.

NOVICE chaser Simber Hill can put seasoned campaigners to the sword by winning the Alvis Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown Park tomorrow.

The eight-year-old, trained by Philip Hobbs, tackles this steeplechase which is restricted to past or present military personnel fresh from a four-month break.

He has not been out since lifting a three-mile novice event at Taunton at the end of October by a length and a quarter from Lorgnette.

And he did enjoy a successful summer taking open handicaps at Stratford and Uttoxeter.

Open to further improvement, Simber Hill can capture this pounds 12,000-added contest over an extended three miles.

The other race over the same trip and also open only to amateurs is the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Memorial Hunters' Chase.

Mr Smudge can give his supporters a good run for their money.

He was a winner at Cheltenham last May and won a point-to-to point recently.

Taillefer, who struck at Sandown last month, can repeat the trick in the Tote betXpress Hurdle (Showcase Handicap).

Cutting out most of the running, the seven-year-old kept on gamely for Brian Crowley to hold Queen's Pageant up the hill to the line by half a length.

While that race was over two miles four and a half furlongs, tomorrow's pounds 15,000-added contest is over an extra furlong and a half.

It is likely that less use will be made of Merrick Francis' runner this time in a bid to conserve his energy for a final push.

Rudolf Rassendyll can defy a 7lb penalty for a recent success at Chepstow in the Thales Defences Novices' Handicap Chase.

Trainer Venetia Williams has her horses in top form at present and Rudolf Rasendyll ran out an easy winner of a handicap chase over two miles three and a half furlongs at the Welsh track and the gelding by Supreme Leader looks worth the risk.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 6, 2003
Words:315
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