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Deputy Dan to take command in Grade 2 Hurdle at Warwick

Trainer Oliver Sherwood looks to have another decent hurdler on his hands with Deputy Dan after he scooted up at Chepstow’s Welsh National meeting. He runs in the colours worn by the same trainer’s Puffin Billy who thankfully survived a bout of colic recently and could return to action next season.

Deputy Dan could be in the same class as Puffin Billy judged by his latest 19-length victory. He had previously been beaten for toe by Champagne West but that horse went on to land a hefty gamble in handicap company and is clearly useful.

Willie Mullins continues to step up his raids on these shores and is hopeful of a big run from Rathvinden. The six-year-old son of Heron Island would be unbeaten but for a last flight fall on his debut.

He has gone on to win his next three starts by an accumulative distance of thirty lengths and deserves a crack at this level. Killala Quay battled back to win well at Sandown last time having looked in trouble two out whilst Masters Hill was the only horse to give Kings Palace a race at Cheltenham.

Warwick has put together a top class card with the Grade 2 Betfred Classic Chase certain to be a real slog in the prevailing heavy ground. Vesper Bell, Boyfromnowhere and Shotgun Paddy are vying for favouritism at the moment and preference is just for the latter.

Emma Lavelle is confident that Shotgun Paddy will enjoy the stamina test around here and his form with Black Thunder could get a boost when that horse lines up in the novices’ chase at 1.20. The French-import has now won three on the bounce for Paul Nicholls and Cheltenham could be on the agenda if he beats his three opponents on Saturday.

Drop Out Joe looked like winning all the way up the straight at Doncaster last time but was beaten on the nod by the persistent Warden Hill. The pair pulled seven lengths clear of the third but the horse’s ability to handle ground this deep has to be taken on trust.

Selections: 12.10 Hidden Identity, 12.45 The Game Is A Foot, 1.20 Black Thunder, 1.55 Sew On Target, 2.25 Drop Out Joe, 3.00 Deputy Dan, 3.35 Shotgun Paddy, 4.05 Millicent Silver