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Seebald may be up to itdespite welter burden.

A pounds 33,000-added contest is not to be sniffed at and, while I believe the handicapper has done his best to prevent me from landing today's Sunderlands Imperial Cup Hurdle at Sandown, I'll certainly be trying hard to do so. I partner a novice, Seebald, in the extended two-mile contest for my boss, Martin Pipe.

It's hard to fathom exactly how, after just two runs over hurdles, the horse has ended up with top weight of 11st 10lb in such a competitive contest.

The weight equates to a rating of 137, yet when he won at Newbury last time he had a 110-rated horse, Rooster Booster, only six and three-quarter lengths behind him in third, while on his debut at Exeter he defeated a horse rated just 86 by two and a half lengths.

I know better than anyone that he won both events with plenty in hand, but I find it hard to justify his mark.

Last Saturday I pointed out that Man On The Hill is another novice to have been hit hard - it seems the handicapper comes up with a rating and then adds on a few pounds if they hail from Pond House.

Don't get me wrong, Seebald is a quality horse and could hack up - but even if he does, he does not deserve the weight he has been allotted.

Seebald's qualities are that he jumps well, travels well and has a turn of foot. He's a nice horse who will, despite his burden, take a lot of beating.

Before Seebald's race I partner Carryonharry in the EBF 'National Hunt' Novices' Handicap Hurdle Final, which is another valuable event.

Carryonharry has won his last two starts and seems to be improving. He stays well and has strong each-way claims, although he wouldn't want the ground to dry out too much.

I also partner Carole's Crusader for David Gandolfo in the In The Know Magazine Handicap Chase.

It's probably best to ask the writers of the magazine what chance I have got - after all, they claim they are 'in the know' - but hopefully the visor will work on Carole's Crusader. On recent form, though, she looks to have it all to do.

Finally, I ride Mallory for Mark Wilkinson in the HMS Sandown Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

It is hard to know what we are up against, but I thought Mallory should have won at Folkestone last time to follow up on his debut success. Again, he's got an each-way chance.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:McCoy, Tony
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 11, 2000
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