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Rouge all set for Carlisle test.

Byline: By ARGUS

LE ROI ROUGE was spotted making encouraging late progress at Doncaster in January and gets the nod in the Racing UK Handicap Chase at Carlisle.

Ferdy Murphy's seven-year-old thrives when there is dig in the ground and will have conditions loaded in his favour for this two-mile affair.

There was also much to like about his most recent performance on Town Moor, where he finished a staying-on fourth.

In front of him that day was the reliable Yes Sir and Nacarat, who is pencilled in for this weekend's Racing Post Chase.

With similarly talented rivals in short supply at Carlisle and another 1lb shed from his back, expect Le Roi Rouge to be far closer at the business end.

Psychomodo will be running on ground softer than ideal but should still return to winning ways in the Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide 2009 Novices' Chase.

The seven-year-old gave Lightning Strike a run for his money for a long way at Doncaster before a few unseemly errors saw him drift out of contention.

Given that was his first outing for 63 days, it is fair to assume that second place finish probably blew away a few lingering cobwebs.

Psychomodo is still learning his trade over fences, but is a pretty good operator in the right frame of mind.

He should be unfazed at the prospect of dropping down to the minimum trip - especially if the going is demanding.

Neil Mulholland has this term made seismic inroads within the training ranks and can secure another winner with Tosula, who takes her chance at Market Rasen.

The six-year-old mare returned to form in a chase at Folkestone last month when she finished an admittedly well-beaten second to Royal Hilarity.

Although that rival could not rubberstamp the format Catterick, it perhaps confirmed the belief Tosula is coming back to hand.

Mulholland's decision to manipulate her considerably lower handicap mark over timber could emerge a shrewd bit of business in the Racing UK Handicap Hurdle.

Pagan Starprincess has valid Cheltenham aspirations and will be a warm order for the BBC Mike Molloy Memorial Handicap Hurdle.

The five-year-old mare defeated a quality performer in Chomba Womba at Doncaster last time and really needs to be swiping this pot if Cheltenham is to remain within her compass.

Smooth Sovereign can make a successful comeback in the Betdaq Betting Exchange Maiden Stakes at Wolverhampton.

Mark Johnston's four-year-old returns to the track following a 364-day absence but should certainly know his job. Chief cause for optimism can be derived from his sole outing at Lingfield last February, where he finished second to a decent sort from Peter Chapple-Hyam's operation.

The King's Best chestnut suffered a troubled passage that day and would surely have given General Blucher a lot more to think about with a seamless dash to the line.

As this does not look a pulse-chasing maiden, Smooth Sovereign ought to take plenty of beating.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 16, 2009
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