Newcastle Preview: Lucinda can Russell up a double
Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell has her team in good form and looks to have an excellent chance of landing a double on today’s card at Newcastle courtesy of Present Lodger and Alizee De Janeiro.
Present Lodger scored in good style last time out and can make light of a 6lb rise in the weights to follow-up in the 2m 4f handicap chase (2.20).
This gelding joined Russell after being bought for £200k following a win in an Irish point, but has not been the easiest to train due to a series of setbacks and has had only seven starts since December 2012.
However, connections have persevered with the seven-year-old, who has always been held in high regard, and their patience paid off when Present Lodger won at the third time of asking over fences at Ayr when beating Mighty Cliche by 3 1/4 lengths off a mark of 92.
The son of Presenting jumped well throughout at the head of affairs in the 2m 5f contest, and stayed on strongly to score with more in hand than the winning margin suggests.
It was an effort which suggested Present Lodger needing keeping firmly onside, and a 6lb rise for that success looks on the lenient side.
Although the selection now drops back to 2m 4f, it is unlikely to be an issue given the testing conditions and, granted a clear round, he is going to be very hard to beat.
Alizee De Janeiro has a progressive profile and looks to have been found a nice opportunity to open her account in the 2m handicap hurdle (4.30pm).
This mare raced with plenty of enthusiasm and kept on well to finish third of 11 to Cadore on handicap debut at Ayr on heavy ground, and backed that up with a solid third at Musselburgh on good-to-soft going.
The five-year-old was held-up in mid-division in the latter before making good headway three from home, and keeping on at the one pace to be beaten 11 lengths without being unduly knocked about.
It was an effort which suggested Alizee De Janeiro should be well up to winning a race of this nature, and the return to slower conditions should suit.
Off an unchanged mark of 94 the daughter of Nertwork looks nicely in at the weights, especially with the highly talented Craig Nichol in the saddle taking another 3lb off her back.
Nichol is one of the most promising young jockeys in the game and tremendous value for his claim, and this weak class 5 contest looks a lovely opportunity for Alizee De Janeiro notch her first career success.
2.20: Present Lodger (NAP)
2.55: Doctor Phoenix
4.00: Jennys Melody
4.30: Alizee De Janeiro (NB)