A busy start to Christmas week continues with five runners at Ayr and one on the Flat at Newcastle this afternoon, beginning with Douglas Talking in the opening 2m maiden hurdle at Ayr. Winner of a Tipperary bumper back in the spring, Douglas Talking hasn’t quite met expectations in his two runs for the yard thus far, but we hope the fitting of a tongue tie might start to unlock his true potential.
Grand Morning is a horse who loves running over hurdles at Ayr, with his course record over the smaller obstacles reading 1121. He now reverts back to hurdles in the 2m4f handicap following a spell chasing, and whilst he would ideally prefer the ground to be even softer, we do expect to see an improved performance.
Green Vault returns from a short break following wind surgery in the 2m5f novice hurdle. Another former Irish bumper winner, he should appreciate the step up in trip in what looks a competitive race. He is owned by Mark and Susie Russell, as too is Spark of Madness (and Monday’s winner Rapid Raider), who bids to make it back-to-back wins over course and distance in the 2m novice handicap hurdle. Despite going up 5lb for that recent win, this actually represents a drop in grade and Conner’s 10lb claim means he is in effect racing from a 5lb lower mark. With the drying ground to suit, he looks to have plenty in his favour.
Conversely, the drying conditions won’t be ideal for Behindthelines but the return to a more galloping track certainly will. A lightly-raced 9yo, it is great to be getting a clearer run with him at present and he looks to have a very solid each-way chance in the 3m handicap chase.
Finally, Engles Rock bids to bounce back to winning ways in the 1m2f handicap at Newcastle. She had been enjoying a consistent spell prior to her latest outing when she could only finish ninth having met all sorts of trouble in running. Strike a line through that run and she is capable of going well at an each-way price.
Lucinda Russell Racing