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Nuts N Bolts can bring Christmas cheer to Lucinda Russell stable

Lucinda Russell was hoping to saddle former Welsh National runner-up Silver By Nature in the race again this coming weekend but the grey was fatally injured on the home gallops. She has another highly promising stayer in Nuts N Bolts who has a leading chance in Wetherby’s feature race on Boxing Day.

The seven-year-old won two races in soft ground at Ayr last season to earn his place at the Cheltenham festival in March. He was far from disgraced when finishing sixth in a Grade 3 handicap but was over the top by the time he ran in the Scottish National.

He put up a career-best effort when accounting for Red Rocco by six lengths at Haydock in November and will be tough to beat off a 9lbs higher mark. Another horse bidding to defy a steep rise in the weights is Donald McCain’s Sydney Paget.

He won on the same Haydock card, pulling effortlessly away from Silver By Nature before being eased down by Jason Maguire. He also holds alternative engagements in the Welsh National and the Paddy Power Chase but this looks to be his preferred option.

Cloudy Too cut little ice in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury but had previously won well at Carlisle and cannot be discounted. Alvarado must also come into the reckoning after a victory at Cheltenham but will not run if the going becomes too testing.

Channel 4 is televising the feature race along with the handicap hurdle at 2.20. This looks a competitive event with a handful of previous winners in the field.

The pick of them could be Sue Smith’s Rattlin who was heavily eased when winning over three miles and a furlong here last time out. My Oh Mount Brown and Vinny Gambini also arrive here in winning form and both are likely to make their presence felt.

Micky Hammond’s Pertuis could be worth another chance in the closing race. He was just collared by Hartside before finishing a fair sixth behind Zaplamation here last time out.

Selections: 12.35 Basford Ben, 1.10 Brunello, 1.45 Nuts N Bolts, 2.20 Rattlin, 2.55 Mister Grez, 3.30 Pertuis