Brandon Roc can make it a hat-trick at Towcester

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By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th February 2017, 7:40 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:39 am
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The weights for the 2017 Randox Health - trips off the tongue doesn’t it - Grand National were published last night and Don Poli was trimmed from 16s to 14s with BetVictor for Aintree ahead of the announcement to give Gordon Elliot a second winner of the great race.

Owners Gigginstown Stud won the race with Rule The World in 2016 and they are likely to be mob-handed in April as they have so many fine chasers likely to be aimed at the valuable prize.

The ground is forecast to be heavy at Newcastle for this afternoon’s jumps card and I expect to see a better show from Dingo Bay (2.50) who is blinkered for the first time this afternoon having disappointed on his comeback from a long lay-off at Ayr last month.

He was well supported on that occasion, however, and it will be interesting to see if connections try to recoup losses with the headgear applied, the cobwebs blown away and running from a 3lbs lower mark.

Dan Skelton’s horses have returned to form in recent weeks and Thisonetime will have his supporters as he bids to make it third time lucky over timber having finished runner up at Uttoxeter on heavy ground last month in a first-time tongue tie.

The six-year-old did win a Warwick bumper last January but will get further in time and is overlooked in favour of Derryname (2.20) who is fitted with a first-time tongue tie having disappointed at January last month for Donald McCain.

The selection was well supported on that occasion and did run well in bumpers in his native Ireland for Pat Twomey. The gelding must have been showing plenty at home to be well backed at Bangor and he is given another chance with the stable in such a rich vein of form.

If Verona Opera (3.20) is over Sunday’s excellent run at Leopardstown she will be hard to beat for the yard of Stuart Crawford in the 2m handicap hurdle for mares.

The selection may have found the additional quarter of a mile taxing her stamina at the weekend and while she is 0-13 over timber, she looks to have every chance of adding to her Catterick bumper success of two years ago.

The 2m Handicap Chase is a cracker with Wolf Sword (4.20) taken to make all under the excellent Danny Cook dropping back in distance for the Sue Smith yard.

Top-weight Pistol Park has been raised 2lbs for finishing second at Haydock last time whilst the selection races off the same mark as when picked up between the last two at Sedgefield last time. This promises to be a cracker with the two best northern jump jockeys going head-to-head with Brian Hughes on Pistil Park.

I’m looking forward to seeing the racecourse debut of Ballasalla (4.50) a brother to Donald McCain’s National winner Ballabriggs (2011) and with the stable in such cracking form I hope to see him gallop his rivals into submission in the same famous yellow and green quarters of Trevor Hemmings.

At Towcester, Krackatoa King (3.10) carries 12st 7lbs in the novices’ limited handicap chase for Kerry Lee and must give 18lbs to the likely market leader Yanmare.

But I hope the first time visor will have the desired effect and he can jump his rivals into submission under Richard Johnson. That was only his second start for Kerry Lee and this stiff track will suit at a trip, arguably, short of his best.

In the opener, it is hard to oppose Bandon Roc (2.10) who is chasing a quick hat-trick for Kim Bailey.

The selection carries just one 7lbs penalty for those successes given the first was in a conditional jockey’s event. The six-year-old looked well ahead of the handicapper when winning at Huntingdon last week and I think he will make a decent chaser going forward.

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