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Hughes has his Dream ticket

By Chris Wilson

Cloudy Dream, with Ulsterman Brian Hughes aboard, can take another quiet step up the chasing ladder when he lines up at Haydock.

The six-year-old grey finished runner-up in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr last season, but connections have always felt he could be even better over fences.

Such positivity looked prescient at Carlisle last month when he excelled in a two-mile beginners' chase on soft ground.

Cloudy Dream jumped liked an old hand in Cumbria as he eventually won a three-runner affair by an eased-down three lengths.

Malcolm Jefferson's charge is not short of boot, of course, but he also has shown discernible staying qualities, which is a pretty irresistible combination.

And though it was disappointing to see runner-up Chidswell let the form down at Newcastle last week, that old cliche about only beating what is front of you is especially significant with Cloudy Dream in mind.

It might be very early days, but victory in the Brown Shipley Graduation Chase would uphold the impression that he could be up to Festival class.

Bacchanel looks the one in the totepoolracing Like Us On Facebook 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle at Ffos Las.

Trained in Minehead by Philip Hobbs, the five-year-old did pretty well in four bumpers last season.

Qualando is a worthy ally in the Prince's Countryside Fund Beginners' Chase at Ascot.

Winner of the 2015 Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival, Paul Nicholls will have high hopes this five-year-old can kick on from a pleasing chasing bow in hot company at Cheltenham.

Qualando finished third behind Shantou Village in a two-and-a-half-mile novice chase, with this shorter trip will worth a try at this stage of his career.

Fortune can favour Royal Brave in the Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer Handicap at Newcastle. The Rebecca Bastiman-trained five-year-old has not won since June 2015, but he has been really consistent this year - without getting the luck he might have deserved.

That was the case over this course and distance in October, when he was drawn away from the thick of the action but fairly stormed home for third spot in a 14-runner, five-furlong handicap.

Bastiman must have been well chuffed with Royal Brave and will not be too flustered by the fact he has gone up a pound as he remains very much on the right side of the assessor.

ASCOT: 1.00 One Of Us, 1.35 Qualando, 2.10 Thomas Campbell, 2.45 Fox Appeal, 3.20 Mustmeetalady, 3.55 Cyrname.

DUNDALK: 5.30 Master Bond, 6.00 Split The Atom, 6.30 Knights Templar, 7.00 Sharp Defence, 7.30 My Direction, 8.00 Galaxor, 8.30 Rock On Rosie, 9.00 Black Label.

FFOS LAS: 12.40 Gayebury, 1.10 A Bold Move, 1.45 Bacchanel, 2.20 Return Flight, 2.55 Awaywiththegreys, 3.30 Twenty Eight Guns, 4.05 Midnight Glory.

HAYDOCK: 12.50 Capitaine, 1.25 CLOUDY DREAM (NAP), 2.00 Ami Desbois, 2.35 Politologue, 3.10 Billy Bronco, 3.45 Gibbes Bay.

NEWCASTLE: 3.40 Age Of Elegance, 4.15 The Blues Master, 4.45 Blue Rocks, 5.15 Royal Brave, 5.45 Cadeau Magnifique, 6.15 Arctic Angel, 6.45 Lady Bacchus.

DOUBLE: Cloudy Dream and Bacchanel.

Belfast Telegraph


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