Hales wants Doncaster downpour

View from connections ahead of Saturday's Albert Bartlett River Don Novices' Hurdle at Doncaster.

Alex Hales would like to see some rain at Doncaster

Alex Hales is praying the forecast rain materialises for Duel At Dawn in the Albert Bartlett River Don Novices' Hurdle at Doncaster on Saturday.

Hales feels Duel At Dawn is on the upgrade and has come on bundles for his victory over the course and distance, albeit in lesser company, seven weeks ago.

"The form is a little bit difficult to gauge, but he's come out of Doncaster really well for his last run and seems to be an improving horse," said the Banbury handler.

"We thought it was a nice target to aim at. Obviously it's a very hot race and we'll know a little bit more where we stand, but he's done nothing but improve since he won.

"We think he's a nice horse, so we will find out a bit more on Saturday.

"I don't want to see any mention of firm in the going description, but they are due some rain, so we'll just have to see what happens."

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Tom George admitted being short of races for Minella Aris, who needs good ground and a left-handed track.

The six-year-old got off the mark over hurdles at Southwell two months ago, since which time George has been looking for a suitable opportunity.

"He won nicely last time. He needs to step up but we are very short on options for him. He needs to go left-handed and have good ground," said the Slad trainer.

"We've nowhere else to run him really, so it's a case of seeing how we get on."

Dan Skelton was pleased with No Hassle Hoff's run in a similar race at Cheltenham last month when he was a good third to Wholestone.

On the strength of that effort, the Alcester trainer is looking for another decent display from the lightly-raced five-year-old.

"Obviously it's another good race. He ran well in a race of this depth at Cheltenham last time so hopefully he can out up another good showing," said Skelton.

Alan King is keen to see if Dingo Dollar can justify a place at the Cheltenham Festival.

"Dingo Dollar is on trial in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle," the Barbury Castle trainer told www.alankingracing.co.uk.

"This Grade Two is a big step up in class for him, but he won well at Bangor and we need to find out whether Cheltenham is a realistic aim."

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