Back

Hexham Preview: Lucinda can Russell up a treble

Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell sends a strong raiding party to Hexham today and looks to have a big chance of landing a treble with It’s High Time, One For Arthur and Present Lodger.

It’s High Time showed plenty of ability in three bumper runs last season and makes eagerly awaited debut over hurdles in the 2m 1f contest that opens proceedings (12.50).

The gelding ran a cracker when going down by just 1/2 a length to Theatrical Style in a 12-runner contest at Mussleburgh on his first start for Russell, and then showed a good attitude next time up to dig deep and beat Gurkha Brave at the same venue.

It’s High Time was then piched into the deep end in the Grade 2 Champion Bumper at Aintree, and ran a great race to finish eighth of 19 to Ballyboley.

The six-year-old made good headway from the rear to hold every chance two from home until being unable to find any extra inside the final furlong and weakening to be beaten 10 1/4 lengths.

That was a hot contest, and if translating that level of form to the obstacles It’s High Time is going to be very tough to beat.

One For Arthur has run well to be placed in two starts over the obstacles and looks to have been found a glorious opportunity to open his account in the 2m 5f novices’ hurdle (1.20).

The five-year-old kept on well to be beaten five lengths by the now 128-rated Kilfegin Star at Kelso back in March, and backed that up with a solid third at the same track last month after 210 days on the sidelines.

The son of Milan shaped as if needing the outing in the latter, and is sure to strip much fitter this afternoon.

Off an official rating of 115, One For Arthur sets a very high standard in what looks a very weak contest.

Present Lodger has not really fired in four starts since joining Russell after being bought for £200,000 after winning an Irish point but could prove a different proposition now sent over fences for the first time in the 1.50.

The six-year-old has clearly had some training problems, but shaped quite nicely on seasonal reappearance when fourth at Kelso in a maiden hurdle.

The son of Preseneting kept on under tender handling after being outpaced from from home, and that should have put him spot on for this.

It’s interesting that connections have decided to pitch him into novice chase company after just four starts, and an opening mark of 100 may seriously underestimate Present Lodger’s ability given that he is bred to come into his own over fences.

Selections:
12.50: It’s High Time (NB)
1.20: One For Arthur
1.50: Present Lodger (NAP)
2.20: Milan Royale
2.50: Nouveau Moulin
3.20: No Through Road
3.50: Kilcullen Article