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Musselburgh preview: Benenden primed to open account

David Metcalf | January 4, 2016

Benenden shaped with bags of promise on his debut over fences, and can defy top weight to open his account under rules in the 2m 7f handicap chase at Musselburgh today (13.20).

The gelding was a very expensive Irish point winner who ran well on several occasions over hurdles last season after joining trainer Michael Scudamore.

Benenden looked a big raw sort who needed time to fill into his frame and come into his own when tackling fences.

That view was confirmed when the eight-year-old finished an eye-catching third of 11 to Bekkensfirth over 2m 4f on his return to action at Leicester last month.

After being held-up at the rear, Beneden made smooth progress at the ninth to get into contention before weakening two from home as lack of fitness took its toll.

Although eventually beaten 30 lengths, Benenden was allowed to come home in his own time and not knocked about.

It was a most encouraging effort, and the son of Moscow Society looks sure to appreciate the step up in trip.

Jack can Steel spoils

Jack_Steel

In the 2m handicap chase (15.00), Jack Steel looks worth another chance to confirm earlier promise after disappointing last time out.

The gelding won a point in Ireland, and showed progressive form over hurdles last season after joining trainer Lucinda Russell.

Jack Steel looked to be being brought along steadily with handicaps in mind and, after a fine return to action when runner-up over hurdles at Perth, put in a much-improved performance to score on chasing debut at Ayr.

The six-year-old made a couple of novicey errors early doors, but gradually warmed to the task and after getting hampered three from home ran on strongly to win going by five lengths.

It was an effort which suggested Jack Steel would be capable of winning plenty more races, but he subsequently failed to shine next time up at Doncaster having been hit with a 12lb rise in the weights.

However, the son of Craigsteel was clearly not right that day and has since been given a break to freshen-up.

Jack Steel has also reportedly been schooling well at home, and this looks a nice opportunity for him to get back to winning ways.

Selections

12.20: Strait Of Magellan
12.50: Carthage
13.20: Benenden (NAP)
13.50: Shrewd
14.25: Beer Goggles
15.00: Jack Steel (NB)
15.30: Sammy B

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