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Catterick Preview: Some Lad tough to beat

Some Lad is in the form of his life at present and looks weighted to take all the beating in the 2m 3f handicap hurdle at Catterick today (12.10).

The Alison Hamilton trained gelding comes into race a having showed terrific battling qualities to land a 2m 1f handicap chase at Kelso off a mark of 92 before finishing runner-up in his last two starts.

The last of those came over hurdles at Newcastle five days ago where the nine-year-old went down by just a neck to Captain Sharpe.

Some Lad travelled strongly throughout that contest and looked all over the winner having gone clear on the run-in before getting collared close home.

It’s no surprise to see connections turn out the son of Beneficial quickly off the same mark of 88 before the assessor has his say, and Some Lad is just 2lb higher than when registering his last success over hurdles back in March.

Given that the nine-year-old has shown improved form since that success it makes him look very well-treated, and this looks a nice opportunity for Some Lad to get back in the winners’ enclosure.

Safari Journey runs off a career-low chase mark in the 2m handicap chase (1.10) and looks a bit of value to take advantage and score a long overdue success.

The gelding had some very useful form to his name in 2010 when trained by Philip Hobbs, and was rated 144 after impressively landing a Grade 1 Listed handicap chase at Ascot by 12 lengths.
Although he has failed to get his head in front since, the 10-year-old now gets into this class 4 contest of just 105.

That makes Safari Journey, who is now in the care of Lucinda Egerton, dangerously well-treated and he showed enough when finishing third three times in the summer off 2lb higher to suggest he was still up to winning a race of this nature.

Trainer Sue Smith has a 24% strike rate with her runners at the track in the past 12 months and that makes Plam Grey of obvious interest on handicap debut in the extended 3m 1f hurdle contest (2.10)

The gelding shaped nicely when placed in two bumper runs earlier in the year and has caught the eye in two quick runs over hurdles since returning to action last month after 231 days on the sidelines.

The six-year-old was not knocked about when fourth of 14 to It’s High time over 2m 1f at Hexham, and backed that up with a solid third of nine to Chieftan’s Choice over the same course and distance last time out under tender handling.

Palm Grey looks to have plenty more to offer judged on those efforts, and an opening mark of 105 looks exploitable given his unexposed profile.

With the marked step up in trip also promising to suit, everything points to a huge run.

Selections:
12.10: Some Lad (NAP)
12.40: Celtic Artisan
1.10: Safari Journey
1.40: Chieftain’s Choice
2.10: Palm Grey (NB)
2.40: If In Doubt
3.10: My Teescomponents