The Chronicle

Diva to take cen­tre stage at Carlisle

- Sports · Horse Racing · City of Carlisle · Cheltenham · Cumbria · Uttoxeter

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 rac­ 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.

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