Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Chorista can hit the right notes at Wolverhampton

Greyfriarschorista can provide new connections with swift dividends by winning the toteplacepot Apprentice Handicap at Wolverhampton tomorrow.

The four-year-old gelding has his first start for trainer Brian Ellison and enthusiastic owners Koo's Racing Club who claimed the horse after he finished second at Musselburgh in August.

It is almost unthinkable that Greyfriarschorista ended up at such a lowly level when handled by Mark Johnston, such was his blistering form last winter.

The son of King's Best won three all-weather races by an aggregate distance of 28 lengths, which perhaps left Johnston with no choice but to run him in the 2000 Guineas.

After having clearly been out of his depth at Newmarket, it all went decidedly pear-shaped as he bombed from a mark of 103 to his current mark of 69.

His gutsy effort in Scotland suggests Greyfriarschorista has not fallen out of love with the game entirely, though, while his decent all-weather record must be towards the forefront of punters' minds here.

Greyfriarschorista is now 3lb lower than when successful in a Kempton handicap in January and is certainly in the right hands, with Ellison a past-master in revitalising alleged lost causes.

Marco Botti can prove there is life after Excelebration, with Mezzotint, an encouraging runner-up on debut, taken to do the business in the Name A Race To Enhance Your Brand Maiden Stakes.

Crackentorp, meanwhile, can make a seamless return to hurdling at Market Rasen.

Tim Easterby's six-year-old is rated in the early 90s on the Flat, and looked in particularly good shape when taking seventh spot in the November Handicap at Doncaster.

He has, however, already set a decent standard on his sole try over hurdles, when staying on for third over two miles at Newcastle last November.

Crackentorp, who is seemingly adept on all surfaces, jumped pretty accurately at Gosforth Park and theoretically had little chance against Storm Brig and Flinty Bay.

The cunning Easterby will anticipate a big run in the Corona Extra Novices' Hurdle, with this rise in trip just about ideal.

Roxane Bruere deserves her moment back in the spotlight when she contests the Magners Golden Draught Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.

The Robin Dickin-trained six-year-old is just 5lb higher than when last successful, at Huntingdon in January, and is clearly coming to the boil nicely for this contest.

Dickin's mare is at her best when leading from the front, a tactic which often works so well at the Lincolnshire track, and can rubber-stamp her well-being here.

Duke Of Lucca has been found his easiest challenge over fences in the Weatherbys Talking Insurance Beginners' Chase at Wincanton.

The Philip Hobbs-trained six-year-old arguably never really fulfilled his promise over hurdles last season, but is unquestionably laden with ability.

After all, he got to within two lengths of Peddlers Cross in an Aintree Grade Two last April, not to mention finishing third in the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle a couple of weeks later.

Hobbs had always earmarked a chasing career for Duke Of Lucca, though, and his instincts have so far been justified with second-placed finishes at Chepstow and Ascot.

He looked especially sharp at Ascot a couple of weeks ago when, despite making a couple of costly errors, he finished second to Solix, who is clearly going places.

Bernisdale also has a little less on her plate for the Montague Inn Supports RBL Juvenile Hurdle.

John Flint's three-year-old filly struggled beneath a penalty over two miles at Fakenham, finishing third when sent off the 13-8 favourite.

She is back on level terms for this encounter, though, and should be a real danger if able to bring her winning Sedgefield maiden hurdle form to the table in Somerset.

Reyamour looked more than accomplished at Hereford two weeks ago and seemingly holds the key to the Leicester Juvenile Fillies' Hurdle at the Midlands track — even with a penalty.

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