Wood’s claim can benefit New List at Wetherby

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Yuften has been made the 4/1 favourite with BetVictor for the opening leg of the spring double, after ante-post favourite Morando was ruled out of tomorrow’s curtain-raiser on the flat, much to the disappointment of trainer Roger Varian.

Trainer Brian Ellison will be praying for rain on Town Moor for Top Notch Tonto, who is now 8/1 from 16s for the Lincoln at Doncaster, and stablemate Definitly Red now 10/1 from 14s joint-favourite for the second leg in next week’s Grand National at Aintree.

Lincoln prices from BetVictor: Yuften 4/1, Donccha 6/1, Top Notch Tonto 8/1, 10/1 Bar.

Ellison’s string remain in good form and I’m keen to see how New List (5.20) gets on in the Wetherby finale under 7lb conditional Kaine Wood. The pilot is well worth his claim, winning with three of his last ten rides under rules, and can hopefully guide the Pivotal gelding to success in the finale.

Thomas Dowson is another conditional jockey going places, and has done well over the winter for boss Phil Kirby. The pair combine with Little Bruce (3.20) stepping up in trip for the handicap hurdle over an extended two and a half miles and chanced to bounce back from a lacklustre effort last time out at Carlisle. He was bogged down in the soft going that day but was previously impressive when scoring at the track in December and is chanced to get his head in front for a third time this season.

A field of six go to post for a cracking renewal of the 2m 5f Handicap Chase and it’s hard to oppose Swing Hard (3.50) under a penalty.

Sue Smith’s nine-year-old has continually attracted support and belatedly got his head back in front last time out over course and distance when bolting-up by six lengths. Danny Cook keeps the ride and the gelding looks likely to make all under his 7lb penalty.

I was taken by the performance of Gary Moore’s Benatar (2.10) in defeat last time out at Newbury, bumping into a very promising novice of the Ben Pauling yard, who should make amends in the Fontwell opener under the trainer’s son Jamie. The selection has improved on all three starts since joining new connections in the autumn and should take all the beating for an in-form yard.

Brave Eagle must go close in the opener against Benatar but looks a long-term chasing type for the Master of Seven Barrows, and I much prefer the chances of stablemate Clondaw Banker (2.40) in the 2m 5f Handicap Chase under Nico de Boinville.

The selection was pulled-up on his belated seasonal reappearance on ground softer than ideal at Wincanton. He was far from disgraced for an all-weather maiden last time out at Newcastle and those two runs should put him cherry-ripe to reward each-way support from a 5lb lower mark.

A friend owns a leg in the filly Fortutities who must go well up at Newcastle however, is likely to need the run on her first run of the season. The daughter of Soldier of Fortune will be a nice handicapper of middle distances later in the campaign but is overlooked for the mile maiden in favour of Multicultural (6.45) under Martin Harley. James Tate’s well-bred daughter of Fastnet Rock made an eye-catching debut when fourth at Newmarket towards the back end of the season and that form looks

Poppy In the Wind (8.45) remains in good form on the all-weather, racing exclusively at Gosforth Park since returning from a short break in November, and must go close in the closing sprint handicap. The selection boasts form figures of 4152123 in that time and should reward each-way support under 5lb conditional Josh Doyle.

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