Azzuri to shine at Wincanton
Chris Wilson says Azzuri has to be followed at Wincanton on Thursday – he has a selection in every race.
Azzuri looks to have more to offer at Wincanton on Thursday
CHELMSFORD: 5.50 Magic City, 6.25 Kingthistle, 7.00 Ebony N Ivory, 7.30 EL CAMPEON (NAP), 8.00 Angel Of Darkness, 8.30 La Fortuna, 9.00 In The Spotlight.
CLONMEL: 1.20 Fintara, 1.50 Berry Des Aulmes, 2.25 Monalee, 3.00 Like A Demon, 3.35 Upazo, 4.10 Fluspar, 4.40 Captain Bizarro.
SOUTHWELL: 1.45 Pearl Noir, 2.20 Footlight, 2.55 My Renaissance, 3.30 Esteaming, 4.05 Shearian, 4.35 Vroom.
TOWCESTER: 1.35 Top Ville Ben, 2.10 Eaton Rock, 2.45 Pink Gin, 3.20 Quill Street, 3.55 Shy John, 4.25 Ypsilanti.
WINCANTON: 1.25 Azzuri, 2.00 Baby King, 2.35 Hitherjacques Lady, 3.10 River Frost, 3.45 Pilgrims Bay, 4.15 Sacre Toi, 4.45 Dark Invader.
Azzuri has to be shortlisted for the Carling Novices' Hurdle at Wincanton on Thursday.
The five-year-old son of Azamour had some interesting form last season, with his second-placed finish in the Adonis at Kempton a clear example of his worth.
He also did well to finish third in the Grade One for four-year-olds at Aintree in the spring.
And though he was, on the face of it, a little disappointing upon his return to the fray at Wetherby over Christmas, the winner that day, Craggaknock, is well regarded and ended up running in a Supreme trial at Haydock.
Dan Skelton must be optimistic that there is a great deal more to come from Azzuri this season.
River Frost is on a roll at present and a third win on the bounce looks within his grasp in the Fortress Home Insurance Handicap Hurdle.
Winner of a novice event at Plumpton back in November, he followed up with a six-length verdict when switched to handicap company at Kempton last time.
River Frost was left clear when the leader fell at the last, but he could have won regardless as he was closing in to make his challenge at that point.
A 10lb hike looks a bit harsh on the face of it, but River Frost is still relatively unexposed and could have a bit up his sleeve yet.
Pink Gin has only limited mileage for a nine-year-old and he can supplement his recent success with another victory in a three-mile handicap hurdle at Towcester.
He has clearly had his issues but everything fell right last time at Exeter as he registered his first win in two years when triumphing by two lengths in what was admittedly only a moderate event.
However, Pink Gin looked capable of a bit more that day and can step up to the mark off a 10lb higher perch here.
Top Ville Ben is the pick in the opening Haygain Hay Steamers Clean Healthy Forage "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.
A point to point winner last April, he was bought for 70,000 euros later that month before making his debut under Rules at Ludlow in December.
Nicky Henderson's charge raced a bit keenly that day but still won by three and a half lengths in a bumper event before proving equally as impressive when triumphing on his hurdles bow at Leicester last month.
He made every yard that day and while his hurdling could be a little sharper, the outing should definitely have helped in that respect.
El Campeon must have a grand chance when he reports for duty at Chelmsford.
Simon Dow's five-year-old has done really well for the Surrey handler, winning six races from 23 outings.
He has also been in fine fettle this winter with solid placed efforts since winning over a mile and three-quarters at Wolverhampton in December.
El Campeon finished in the money at Lingfield a few weeks later, and got even closer at Kempton on just his second try over two miles.
The gelded son of Multiplex was probably unlucky to have bumped into the upwardly-mobile Aurora Gray in Sunbury, so to get to within a neck of that rival was no mean feat indeed.
El Campeon reverts to a mile and three-quarters for an eight-runner handicap that is not without its merits.
And though he has gone up a few more pounds on his first start at Chelmsford, his current well-being makes him difficult to dismiss lightly.
Capable Newmarket handler Henry Spiller must seriously fancy his chance of winning the concluding seven-furlong handicap with In The Spotlight.
The three-year-old filly has to shoulder top weight but she absolutely dotted up at Kempton on Saturday and should get every yard of this longer trip.
With much more required from her six rivals, In The Spotlight, who will have the assistance of 3lb claimer Louis Steward, clearly sets the standard.
The old team of Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan can cash in at Southwell with Footlight.
A pleasing runner-up on her first start over a mile and a quarter at Lingfield on January 7, this likeable daughter of Showcasing makes a heck of a lot of appeal over another furlong.
Footlight continues to rise through the weights, but she likes running at Southwell and has to be respected in the Betway Handicap.