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Leicester Preview: In-form Hanagan the man to follow

Jockey Paul Hanagan is riding better than ever this season and looks to have excellent claims of adding to his tally on today’s seven-race card at Leicester.

The 33-year-old dual champion kicks of proceedings aboard the Mick Easterby trained Towbee in the 5f sprint handicap (2.30).

The gelding was last successful in the mud at Thirsk 12 months ago, when staying on strongly to beat Whozthecat by a neck off a mark of 77 in a class 4 contest.

Towbee went on to finish a solid second on soft ground at Catterick, and also ran a a stormer to chase home Barkston Ash in a 16-runner class 4 contestat Hamilton off 77.

The five-year-old has failed to trouble the judge in three starts this season, but now drops back down into class 5 company and having started the campaign off on a mark of 79 runs off 75.

That is 2lb lower than when last successful and gives Towbee major claims at the weights on soft ground that holds no fears.

Hanagan then teams up with Meeting Waters in the fillies’ handicap (3.30), who looks to have leading claims of landing the spoils judged on her runway success in a class 2 nursery at Yarmouth last season.

The daughter of Aqlaam made all to win by six lengths on easy ground, and may have found the race coming to soon when finishing just seventh at Newmarket nine days later.

The William Haggas trained filly looks the type who may well have more to offer this season, and connections have found her what doesn’t look a strong contest to make her seasonal reappearance.
In the 1m 3f handicap, the Warrington-born jockey teams up with the lightly raced Warrigal.

The Jeremy Noseda trained colt ran very well to finish runner-up to Conquestadim last time out at Kempton, and off just 1lb higher this looks a good opportunity for the son of Mount Nelson to notch his second success.

Hanagan’s mount in the juvenile maiden (5.00) is Classic Collection who looks a likely sort on paper to make a winning debut.

The beautifully bred daughter of Cape Cross is related to some smart performers, and her handler Saeed Bin Suroor has a decent strike rate with his runners at the track.
In the 1m 2f that closes the card (5.30), Hanagan partners the potentially well-treated Gift Of Rain.

The Ed Dunlop trained filly has only had four starts, and by far her best of those runs came on her sole try on turf when chasing home Bilimbi on soft ground at Yarmouth over 7f.

The daughter of Galileo kept on that day to be beaten four lengths, and the winner has since gone on to land a strong handicap at Musselburgh off 82 and was far from disgarced in the valuable Silver Bowl when finishing sixth of 13 to Chatez off 90.
That gives the form a strong look, and makes Gift Of Rain look weighted to take all the beating off a mark of just 65.

Selections:
2.30: Towbee (NAP)
3.00: Belayer
3.30: Meeting Waters
4.00: Warrigal
4.30: Persun
5.00: Classic Collection
5.30: Gift of Rain (NB)