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Sunday meeting Preview: Andrew King runs his eye over the entries

28-March-2023 17:58
in General
by Peter McNeile

The first of two meetings in April will be staged at Andoversford this Sunday (April 2nd) with a six-race card and scheduled first race off-time of 2.15pm, writes Andrew King.

Andoversford's famous ups and downs provide a proper test for a horse and conditions this weekend should be spot on for competitive racing with the ground described as " good to soft and good in the home straight".

The Jason Maguire-trained Barney Dwan catches the eye after his staying on second behind the impressive Macfin at Maisemore last weekend as the veteran 13-year-old holds entries in four of the races on the card.

Maguire was undecided about which contest his charge may line up for on Sunday earlier this week and said: "He has come out of the Maisemore run in good heart and I would think he is very likely to run again at Andoversford.

"We will probably wait until the day before making any concrete decision but at the moment I would possibly be leaning towards the Conditions race that opens the card. However I must stress that running plans remain fluid as other horses also hold multiple entries."

In the likely absence of Barney Dwan from the Feature Robert Hitchins Andoversford Grand Annual Mens Open it could turn out to be a duel between Mr Snuffles and Ravens Tower, who comes into the race on the back of two wins so far this campaign.

Mr Snuffles was a beaten favourite at Bangor-On-Dee three weeks ago but the soft conditions probably did not help and he will find the ground on offer at Andoversford much more to his liking.

Ravens Tower is owned by Sophie Pauling, wife of trainer Ben, and he boasts recent successes at Cocklebarrow and Badbury Rings this year. He prefers some cut in the ground so connections will be hoping for an unsettled week.

The Martin & Co Ladies Open is another tricky looking contest at the entry stage and it might well hang on which of the Jenny Gordon-trained pair, Captain Buck's and Commanche Red, take up their entry as they are both also in the Ladies Conditions contest later on the card.

Taking a bit of a stab in the dark it looks more likely that Commanche Red would run in the Ladies Open and Captain Buck's would wait for the other race.

Whichever route connections choose one thing is certain and that is that Molly Landau will be aboard the pair as she is very keen to take the Ladies Novice Riders title and she is currently vying for the lead with Amber Jackson-Fennell. They are on five wins apiece at the last count.

The Jim Wilson Memorial Restricted race has only attracted five entries but provides Jackson-Fennell with a chance of putting another win on the board as she will partner Grenadine Save, who plugged on well at Shelfield Park recently and would appreciate any rain that falls between now and Sunday.

A very open Maiden brings the curtain down on the action and it could see a Royal runner take his chance in the shape of Pattern Cutter, who is owned and bred by H.R.H. The Princess Royal.

The six-year-old has been disappointing in a couple of bumpers under Rules. The switch to pointing might help his cause in the care of Belinda Keighley, but Blue Bear is the very tentative selection.

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