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Sky the limit for Crawford

Stuart Crawford is hoping for a big run from Killyglen when the nine-year-old returns to Doncaster for the Sky Bet Chase.

Formerly with Howard Johnson, Killyglen showed a liking for the track when second to Wogan in last year's Grimthorpe Chase on Town Moor, and Crawford is confident he has his charge in peak condition.

"Everything has been going according to plan and I'm hoping Killyglen will go and run well. It will probably be the most suitable conditions he will have had in the time we have been training him," said the trainer.

"He has pleased me in his three races this season. We gave him a couple of runs over hurdles and he went well on ground softer than ideal, so hopefully the better ground this weekend should improve him a bit.

"He jumped very well at Down Royal against Kauto Star. The ground was just too heavy for him that day. He took them on and at times he was taking a length out of those horses - and he won't be racing against Kauto Star this time."

Donald McCain's string remain in great heart and stable jockey Jason Maguire keeps banging in the winners as a consequence. The team pair up with Khachaturian, fifth behind stablemate Ballabriggs in the Kim Muir last March.

Maguire said: "You'd like to think off his mark that he'd have a little chance. You forget how well he ran in the amateur race at the Festival. He cut out all the running and was still there coming down the hill. He's kept going but a couple have quickened past him.

"It's his first run for a while but we are expecting a good run from him. They are calling it good ground and he won't mind that."

Blazing Bailey was a Grade One winner over hurdles but appeared to be falling out of love with the game before bouncing back to form at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

However, trainer Alan King said: "We have declared Blazing Bailey for the Sky Bet Chase, but the ground is plenty quick enough and we will see what Wayne Hutchinson says after he has ridden on the course before committing to run. The horse in great form."


From Belfast Telegraph