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Carroll is hoping a fresh start can reinvigorate veteran Upavon


By Anita Chambers

Upavon can make a perfect start for new trainer Tony Carroll in the Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton, one of only two meetings to survive the freeze.

The eight-year-old is a veteran of some 55 races now so, while he probably holds few secrets from the handicapper, a fresh environment might be just the thing to reinvigorate him.

An admirable performer for David Elsworth and then Stuart Williams, Upavon has a total of 11 wins to his credit, which is not a bad strike rate at all, with his most recent success coming at Brighton back in August.

He has failed to add to that win in eight subsequent outings, but his neck second to Tropics last time was a decent effort, although he just fell short on the run for home.

The handicapper has seen fit to nudge him up 2lb for that run, but he remains a good way short of his highest mark, which might leave Carroll a little something to work with.

Scrutiny was a shock 66-1 winner of an amateur riders' event on his most recent outing and, while no world beater, he could just go and follow that up in the Handicap.

He seemingly appreciated both the switch away from Southwell, where he had disappointed on two previous runs, and the application of cheekpieces as he prevailed by just a neck over an extended mile.

A 3lb rise seems a bit harsh perhaps, but he is still some way below the mark of 70 off which he was triumphant a few years ago.

Mrs Burbidge is a versatile performer, proving pretty capable over fences, hurdles and on the level, and she is one to follow in the Betway Live Casino Handicap.

A winner over hurdles back in September, she finished second in a chase in October before returning on the all weather at Lingfield earlier this month.

She finished strongly that day to be beaten just under a length and remains well treated on a mark of 50.

King Kevin was another to hit the bar last time but he can redeem himself in the Betway Casino Handicap.

He has paid for his consistency with a steep rise in the ratings and starts here off a 27lb higher mark than he won off back in November but, as he has added three further wins and a slew of places, it is hardly surprising.

Gorse was beaten a neck at Newcastle last time but can right that wrong in the Handicap back at Gosforth Park.

Returning after a 72-day break, he just fell short for Ann Duffield but at least signalled his intent in running such a fine race.

He can score a first career success here.

NEWCASTLE: 5.15 Keir Hardie, 5.45 Kings Full, 6.15 Hadley, 6.45 Urban Spirit, 7.15 Gorse, 7.45 Fintry Flyer.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.15 Smart Mover, 2.45 Scrutiny, 3.20 King Kevin, 3.50 Mrs Burbidge, 4.25 UPAVON (NAP), 4.55 Dubai Acclaim.

DOUBLE: Upavon and Scrutiny.

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