No rain so all set fair for Dingo Dollar and Scarlet Dragon
Inevitably, Newbury’s Winter Carnival revives magical memories for Alan and everyone at Barbury, with the popular Smad Place having produced that breathtaking jumping performance to win the Ladbroke Gold Trophy (then known as the Hennessy) there four years ago.
Alan, who again saddles Dingo Dollar, third in the race 12 months ago, said:”The weather has improved, which is very encouraging as Dingo Dollar would have gone close last year had it not rained overnight.
“He took a lot of getting fit this year, so there was more left to work on when he finished third on his comeback over hurdles here earlier in the month, when again it rained on the track the night before.
“He is best suited by a flat, left-handed course, so, while it’s probably a better race this year than it was last, granted the right underfoot conditions I’d hope he would again run well.”
Alan is also hoping the rain stays away for Scarlet Dragon, whose target is the race that used to be the Gerry Feilden Hurdle. He added:”I thought the handicapper was a bit severe in putting him up 10lb for winning at Market Rasen in September, though it’s fair to say that the form has since been franked.
“It is a shame that Scarlet Dragon lost the November Handicap at Doncaster through the weather, but he is in good form and, though he’ll cope with soft ground, the more it improves the better his chance.
“Mr Pumblechook runs in the two and a half mile handicap hurdle, and the step up in trip will suit him. He started last season well, finishing second here at Newbury and then winning at Plumpton, but he then suffered a bad bout of colic which affected his form.
“If anything he travelled too well at Plumpton on his seasonal debut, running with the choke out, and he ought to come on for that comeback.
“Wilde Blue Yonder makes his return in the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial. He got his act together over fences last season but didn’t stay the three miles on his last visit to Newbury, so this two miles and six will suit him better.”