Diva to take centre stage at Carlisle
HAPPY Diva can bounce back from a recent Cheltenham spill with victory in the Houghton Mares’ Chase at Carlisle.
Kerry Lee’s stable star enjoyed a tremendous campaign last term – winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November, as well as filling the runner-up spot in two Listed events and on her return to Cheltenham in March.
She could finish only fifth on her reappearance at Wetherby last month, but clearly benefited from the outing – because she was far from done with when falling two fences from the finish in the Paddy Power a fortnight ago.
Providing that tumble has not dented her confidence, Happy Diva looks to have been found an excellent opportunity to get back on the winning trail in Cumbria against just a handful of rivals.
Highway One O Two is in a similar boat in the Bet At racingtv.com Beginners’ Chase.
The Chris Gordon-trained fiveyear-old completed a hurdling hat-trick in a Grade Two contest at Kempton in February, so it was no surprise to see him sent off a hot favourite on his seasonal and chasing debut at Ffos Las three weeks ago.
Having shown a tendency to jump right, the Shirocco gelding was already held when coming to grief three from home.
But he deserves another chance to prove his worth over fences, with the switch to a right-handed track a definite plus.
Midnight River is very difficult to oppose in the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Novices’ Hurdle at Leicester.
Placed in two bumpers last season, the son of Midnight Legend made a winning hurdling bow at Uttoxeter before finishing second behind Kim Bailey’s Does He Know at Cheltenham last month.
With the winner having since followed up at Grade Two level, that form looks excellent, and Midnight River can be expected to go one better in this sort of company.
Ffos Las punters should rely on Colin Tizzard’s French import Road Senam in the Welsh Horse Racing Awards 2020 Novices’ Hurdle.
The four-year-old brings some quality French form to the table, including a runner-up finish in a Grade Two when last seen in May.
The Tizzard runners are starting to hit form, and it will be a shade disappointing if this exciting new recruit is unable to make a successful start for his new connections.
Three Grade Ones light up a tremendous card at Fairyhouse, with Honeysuckle expected to stretch her unbeaten record to nine in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.
Henry de Bromhead’s fabulous mare was a runaway winner of this two-and-a-half-mile contest last year, and will prove incredibly hard to beat on a track where she is five from five.