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Court should do himself justice after near misses

By Chris Wilson

Court By Surprise, with Leighton Aspell on board, has a great chance in the 32Red Veterans' Handicap Chase at Sandown.

The 12-year-old should really have won more races during his career, but he has a decent record at the track and could feasibly have been trained to the minute for this assignment.

Court By Surprise found three miles and five furlongs too overwhelming at this track on December 3, but his prior run over course and distance served notice that the fires still burn from within.

Emma Lavelle's old-timer only went down by half a length to Loose Chips in a qualifier for this race, so it is far from beyond the realms of possibility to suggest that form can be reversed this afternoon.

Court By Surprise has not won for well over two years, but he is enticingly handicapped as a result and warmed up for this with a satisfactory fourth in a handicap chase at Doncaster where, interestingly, he was the subject of plenty of market support.

It is tough to make a compelling case against Capitaine in the 32Red Tolworth Novices' Hurdle.

The Grade One at the Esher circuit cut up quite badly at the final declaration stage, which has unquestionably enhanced the claims of Paul Nicholls' grey.

Deeply unexposed and seemingly unfazed by any variants of ground, the Grade Two winner is highly unlikely to be knocked off his stride if Sam Twiston-Davies forces the issue from flag-fall.

Chupalla could have developed into a really interesting filly ahead of her return to the fray at Wolverhampton tonight and should be followed.

Death Duty can further emboss his strong Cheltenham Festival claims with victory in the Lawlor's Hotel Novice Hurdle at Naas tomorrow.

This looks a bang-up-to-scratch renewal, with the likes of Augusta Kate and Blood Crazed Tiger worthy foes.

But Death Duty seemingly possesses greater levels of speed and stamina than the rest of them, and is utterly deserving of his place at the head of the ante-post lists for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March.

CORK: 12.50 Veinard, 1.20 Chateau Conti, 1.55 Bon Papa, 2.30 Scoir Mear, 3.05 Blazer, 3.40 After Aspen, 4.10 Drumconnor Lad.

LINGFIELD: 12.05 Envisaging, 12.40 Pattie, 1.10 Billyoakes, 1.45 Mica Mika, 2.20 Kingston Kurrajong, 2.55 Coral Sea, 3.30 Heads You Win.

NEWCASTLE: 11.55 Listen To The Man, 12.30 Forest Bihan, 1.00 Oscar's Prospect, 1.35 Trickaway, 2.10 Island Confusion, 2.45 Cross To Boston, 3.20 Illwalktheline.

SANDOWN: 12.10 Coeur De Lion, 12.45 Lifeboat Mona, 1.15 Atirelarigo, 1.50 Garde La Victoire, 2.25 Capitaine, 3.00 COURT BY SURPRISE (NAP), 3.35 Robinshill.

WINCANTON: 12.55 Miracle Cure, 1.30 Get In Pat, 2.05 Fox Appeal, 2.40 Draytonian, 3.15 Fortunate George, 3.50 Black Valentine.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.45 Just Fred, 6.15 Dakota City, 6.45 Menelik, 7.15 Tanzina, 7.45 Chupalla, 8.15 Lawfilly, 8.45 Ahead Of Time.

DOUBLE: Court By Surprise and Capitaine.

CHEPSTOW (tomorrow): 1.00 Du Soleil, 1.30 Constantine Bay, 2.00 Fly Camp, 2.30 Krackatoa King, 3.00 Poppy Kay, 3.30 Ubaltique, 4.00 Horseguardsparade.

FONTWELL (tomorrow): 1.10 My Khaleesi, 1.40 Straits Of Messina, 2.10 The Chuckmeister, 2.40 Caid Du Lin, 3.10 Bishops Court, 3.40 Up The Navan Road.

NAAS (tomorrow): 12.50 Mossback, 1.20 Some Plan, 1.50 Death Duty, 2.20 Kilcarry Bridge, 2.50 All The Chimneys, 3.20 Monbeg Rose, 3.50 Debuchet.

DOUBLE: Death Duty and Ubaltique.

Belfast Telegraph

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