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Fakenham Preview: Golden opportunity for Barton Heather

Barton Heather looks to have been found a glorious opening to get back to winning ways in the 2m 7f hurdle at Fakenham today (3.00).

The Neil Mulholland trained mare showed improved form last season went sent handicapping, finishing a head runner-up at Uttoxeter before going one better at Fontwell.

The five-year-old rallied gamely to beat The Selector by 1 3/4 lengths off a mark of 96, and is now able to race off just 1lb higher in what looks a very weak class 5 contest.

Although Barton Heather has failed to trouble the judge in two subsequent outings, the daughter of Midnight Legend shaped as if needing the run on seasonal reappearance at Ffos Las month and is sure to strip much fitter for the outing.

Her handler is also in good form at present, and in a contest where it is hard to make a case for any of Barton Heather’s six rivals it will be disappointing if she doesn’t land the spoils.

Southway Star is in terrific form at present and can defy a penalty to land the hat-trick in the 3m handicap chase (1.30).

The mare was bought cheaply out of Sue Gardners’ yard by trainer Neil King and has quickly repaid her purchase fee with two runaway successes at Fontwell.

In the last of those the nine-year-old was heavily eased down after the last when slamming Willy Be Lucky by 18 lengths off a mark of 88, and it’s no surprise to see connection’s turn her out quickly under a a 7lb penalty before the handicapper has his say.

King has also shrewdly decided to let a 7lb claimer take the ride today, and taking her allowance into account Southway Star is effectively running off an unchanged mark.

That is going to make Southway Star very tough to beat, especially as the daughter of Morpeth receives lumps of weight from her three rivals.

In the beginners’ chase (2.30), a clear round should be good enough to see Vicente make a winning debut over the larger obstacles.

The Paul Nicholls’ trained gelding gelding was runner-up in the Grade 2 Persian War at Chepstow last month, and that performance earned him a hurdles rating of 145.

However, Vicente’s novice status over hurdles has now expired so it is no surprise to see his in-form handler make the immediate switch to fences.

The five-year-old is the class act on today’s card, and looks a worthy odds-on shot to get the better of main market rival Warden Hill and land the spoils.

Selections:
1.00: Seaside Shuffle
1.30: Southway Star (NB)
2.00: Grimley Girl
2.30: Vicente
3.00: Barton Heather (NAP)
3.30: Carobello