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Hannah Roach the one to follow at Bitterley

03-April-2024 12:19
in General
by Andrew King

Organisers at Bitterley races will be keeping everything crossed that the weather is kind over the next few days and allows the meeting to go ahead on Saturday (April 6th) with a scheduled first race off-time of 1.30pm. The course is in great nick with all the fences already in position and ground conditions on the testing side awaits the 78 entries for the seven-race card which promises some very competitive racing.

The Philip Rowley-trained Forest Chimes was successful on the card 12 months ago and the thoroughly consistent 10-year-old is very likely to make a bold bid to follow up in the Mixed Open.

There are no worries with the underfoot conditions as far as he is concerned as he acts very well on soft or heavy ground as was perfectly illustrated last year when he prevailed in the Conditions contest. However he is unlikely to have matters all his own way with The Creadan Rogue and Loughan also entered . The first named showed his well-being when runner-up at Bangor-On-Dee on his latest start while Loughan has hit a rich vein of form and will be seeking a recent hat-trick.

Connections of both horses will be hoping they can give Forest Chimes a run for his money but solid course form is a positive factor and Rowley's charge just gets the nod.

Whatever fate awaits The Creadan Rogue, his trainer Hannah Roach may not leave Bitterley empty handed as she could saddle Willewonga in the Conditions (Level 2) race. The eight-year-old son of Multiplex found everything happening a bit too quickly in the Walrus Hunter Chase at Haydock back in February and was eventually pulled up when his chances had evaporated.

Back in this more suitable company, he has an obvious shout even though arduous ground conditions are not exactly what he is crying out for. But he should have enough up his sleeve to play a leading role.

Paddock inspection will be important in the Young Horse Maiden where a few of the usual suspects have made entries with Gina Ellis represented by Dropmeatthestation while the Rowley team have the choice of Bear Market or Jacques Clouseau.

And if Chris Barber makes the long haul North from his Dorset base with either City Silk or Heart Of Courage then the hint should be taken seriously as the pair both have decent pedigrees and will be in receipt of the valuable four-year-olds allowance.

If Subtle Fortune takes up his engagement in the Restricted rather than heading to Kingston Blount 24 hours later, the hint should be taken as he won nicely at Bangor last time and appears the type who can remain progressive. The dark horse is undoubtedly the Roach-trained debutant Sabre Rattling as he is bred for the game and his shrewd handler usually has her horses well prepared for their racecourse bows.

Western Cowboy found his form with a vengeance when taking the spoils at Cotley last month. He started at 16-1 on that occasion but the bookmakers are surely to be less generous this time around in the opening Hunt race.

The Conditions (Level 3) for Novice Riders has a very open look about it at the time of writing. Western Cowboy also holds an entry in this race and would be very much of interest is taking up the option along with The Dubai Way.

As races go, the Maiden that brings down the curtain on the card is not the greatest of contests but there has to be a winner and Walk Easy, who will be making his British debut, is the tentative choice to end a sequence of seconditis.

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