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Plumpton Preview: All eyes on classy Deputy Dan

Deputy Dan shaped with bags of promise when runner-up on chasing debut and looks a worthy favourite to go one better in the 2m 4f contest at Plumpton today (1.30).

The Oliver Sherwood trained six-year-old went from strength to strength last season and developed into one of the top staying novice hurdlers in the country.

After opening his account over timber in facile fashion at Chepstow, the son of Westerner put in an impressive display to slam Masters Hill by nine lengths in a Grade 2 contest over 2m 5f at Warwick.

The gelding stayed on strongly in the mud to score by nine lengths and had subsequent Betfair Hurdle winner Splash Of Ginge a further seven lengths behind in third.

Deputy Dan then posted a career-best effort when a cracking second of 18 to Very Wood in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival, keeping on well to go down by 4 1/2 lengths after a slow jump at the last cost him vital ground.

That is top class form, and Deputy Dan looks set to be just as good over fences judged on his second to Virak on seasonal reappearance at Fontwell last month.

Deputy Dan jumped well apart from a mistake five from home which cost him vital ground, and it’s fair to say that he was given a tender introduction by jockey Leighton Aspell.

Although beaten 4 1/2 lengths, Aspell was at pains not to give Dan a hard time on his first run for 222 days and he is sure to come on significantly for the outing.

With that run under his belt Deputy Dan is going to be very tough to beat, and I strongly fancy him to get the better of main market rival Far West to land the spoils before going on to better things.

In the 2m 4f handicap chase (2.30), Jackies Solitaire is weighted to take all the beating.

The Anthony Honeyball trained mare won a novice chase at Warwick bacj in March 2013 by 35 lengths off an official rating of 125, and having subsequently been rated as high as 130 is able to race in this off just 119.

That makes the six-year-old dangerously well-treated for a handler who boasts a strike rate of 27% with his runners at the venue in the past 12 months.

Selections:
1.00: Seedling
1.30: Deputy Dan (NAP)
2.00: More Buck’s
2.30: Jackies Solitaire (NB)
3.00: Ya Hafed
3.30: Virtuose Du Chenet
4.00: Sadler’s Gold