THE annual running of the Blue Square Winter Derby at Lingfield is a timely reminder that the new Flat turf season is looming on the horizon and this year’s renewal of the Group 3 contest is another tricky affair. Richard Hannon’s Cai Shen was the talking horse all week but has been unlucky with the draw, stuck out in stall 13. Course winner Premio Loco, narrowly beaten in this event back in 2009, will make a bold bid to defy top weight, but MYPLACELATER (3.25) must be of interest at much bigger odds on her first start for Richard Fahey/Paul Hanagan. The mare failed to find the winner’s circle last season but was quite highly tried by David Elsworth, and Myplacelater can prove another shrewd purchase by leading owner Dr Marwan Koukash.
Popular old sprinter Borderlescott is back from injury in the five-furlong Listed dash but meets an in-form course specialist in OASIS DANCER (2.55), who may well get away with this drop to the minimum trip after winning his last two starts over further.
GEORGE GURU (4.00) hasn’t finished out of the first two places in his last five starts and was an unlucky loser over course and distance earlier this month when denied racing room at a vital stage. The handicapper has given him another golden chance.
The EBF Mares’ Hurdle Final at Newbury is always a fascinating puzzle and Kentford Grey Lady is sure to prove popular after her sterling effort at Cheltenham when chasing home Quevega. However, she has top weight to shoulder and HEATHER ROYAL (2.40) can keep the Henderson/Geraghty bandwagon rolling along. The six-year-old hasn’t been spotted since landing short odds at Huntingdon four days into the new year and, as a result, could be very nicely handicapped.
The deadly duo could also strike in the opener courtesy of ONE LUCKY LADY (1.30), a wide-margin winner of her last two start when sent off odds-on.
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