Court takes Neptune plunge

Willoughby Court will bid to maintain his unbeaten record at Warwick on Saturday when taking a step back up in class in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

Russe Blanc (r) wins the Betfred Classic from Midnight Prayer

The Ben Pauling-trained six-year-old, a winner of a bumper at the track in December 2015 and over hurdles on his last start, is one of 12 entries received for the Grade Two contest.

Other notable entries in the race, which is better known as the Leamington, include the Peter Fahey-trained Peregrine Run, who was a winner at this level at Cheltenham in November, and unbeaten hurdler Lough Derg Leader from the yard of Tom Lacey.

Pauling said: "He will probably run, he is in great form and I'm looking forward to going there with him.

"Obviously he enjoys the trip and the soft ground. We will see what he does and after that make a plan for the rest of the season.

"It was a good race he won at Warwick. We did look at Leicester a couple of weeks ago, but he is a horse that has already had two runs over hurdles so he has a bit of experience.

"He has won a bumper there and over hurdles and that is also a bonus."

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Neil King hopes Milansbar can put his effort in last month's Welsh National behind him when contesting the Betfred Classic Chase.

A total of 34 entries have been put forward for the Grade Three event, including last year's winner Russe Blanc, one of four possible runners for trainer Kerry Lee.

The Emma Lavelle-trained Shotgun Paddy, winner of the race in 2014, is another notable entry, along with 2013 hero Rigadin De Beauchene from the yard of Venetia Williams.

King said: "We have entered Milansbar and we are hoping to go there. He clipped heels and nearly went down at the first in the Welsh National.

"He just got on the back foot then he made a bad blunder and that was his chance gone. Nothing went right.

"He is absolutely fine and in good order and the more rain they get the better for him."

Clerk of the course Jane Hedley revealed frost covers would be put down on Wednesday, with temperatures expected to dip below freezing later in the week.

She said: "Walking the course this morning it is soft, good to soft in places. We've got a bit of rain around at present and I would imagine by tomorrow we will call it soft all over.

"There is a cold snap coming, as we've all spotted, but we've plans in place to lay down frost covers on Wednesday.

"Based on current forecasts they should do the job and we should be fine, but if it changes and turns much colder we would have to think again.

"It is our day in the sun and we'll do our very best to get the meeting on."

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