Corked finally got off the mark at Chelmsford in mid-November and can kick on now with victory in the Bet totetrifecta At betfred.com Handicap back at the Essex venue.
Hugo Palmer’s charge finally got her head in front at the eighth time of asking in what could only be described as an ordinary maiden at best.
Corked was sent off the 1-5 favourite for that heat and she made all to win by three lengths after hitting the frame on her four previous starts.
Her confidence should now be riding high and she can make the most of a light weight in the hands of the ever-capable Josephine Gordon.
Send Up should thrive for the switch back up in trip for the Bet toteWIN At betfred.com Handicap.
A typical Sir Mark Prescott type, Send Up got off the mark at Brighton in September when first tried over 12 furlongs and showed she stays further when tackling an extended mile and five furlongs the next time.
That now appears to be her minimum as she was outgunned over a shorter trip last time.
Newbury kicks off a fantastic two days of action, with Unowhatimeanharry taken to top the returning Thistlecrack in the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle.
Last year’s King George hero Thistlecrack will be getting 6lb from Unowhatimeanharry and if he runs up to his mark of 170, he really should not be beaten.
However, he is coming back from the best part of a year off and this is very much a prep for Kempton at Christmas, making Unowhatimeanharry the much more obvious choice.
He only slipped up once last year, coming unstuck on the biggest day of all in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, but he bounced back with victory at Punchestown and already has a win under his belt this term at Aintree.
The nine-year-old was not visually impressive in beating Value At Risk on Merseyside, but the small field and slow early gallop were against him and he really asserted his authority after the last despite giving away lumps of weight.
Harry Fry has made no secret of his charge’s good health this term and he can continue to capitalise on that.
Ben Pauling has high hopes for Willoughby Court and he can make the leap up to Grade Two company in the Ladbrokes Novices’ Chase.
Winner of the Neptune at last season’s Festival, Pauling has wasted no time in pitching him into action over fences and it wasn’t really a surprise to see him make a winning bow at Huntingdon at the beginning of November.
He made slightly hard work of it that day, with his jumping not totally fluent but his class ultimately telling when push came to shove and he should be better for the outing here.
TURF TALK TIPS
CHELMSFORD: 5.45 Spirit Of Belle, 6.15 Blue Candy, 6.45 Daybreak, 7.15 Alba Del Sole, 7.45 Inuk, 8.15 CORKED (NAP), 8.45 Send Up (treble), 9.15 Miss M.
DONCASTER: 12.00 Dandy Dan, 12.30 Halcyon Days, 1.00 Chapel Stile, 1.30 Gibbes Bay, 2.00 Monbeg River, 2.35 Lough Salt, 3.10 Begbie.
NEWBURY: 12.20 Present Ranger, 12.50 Bigmartre, 1.20 Pacific De Baune, 1.50 Willoughby Court, 2.25 Ridgeway Flyer, 3.00 Unowhatimeanharry (next best), 3.35 Hello George.
SOUTHWELL: 12.10 Coroberee, 12.40 Captain Bob, 1.10 Flying Raconteur, 1.40 Zaeem, 2.10 Swot, 2.45 Pearl Acclaim, 3.20 Topmeup.