Cham­pagne to spark cel­e­bra­tions

Sunday Sun - - Racing -

CHAM­PAGNE To Go can sparkle in the Smar­kets North­ern Lights Mares’ Hur­dle Se­ries Fi­nal Mares’ Hand­i­cap Hur­dle at Carlisle.

Trained by Re­becca Men­zies, the eight-year-old does not have a phe­nom­e­nal strike-rate by any means - but does have abil­ity and will han­dle the ground.

She won a qual­i­fier for this #35,000 prize at Sedge­field last time out, be­ing given a pa­tient ride at the rear of the field through the early stages be­fore eas­ing her way into it.

There was a bit to like about her at­ti­tude from the fi­nal flight, as Ques­tion Of Faith put down a strong chal­lenge only to find Nathan Mo­scrop and Cham­pagne To Go not for pass­ing, and if any­thing go­ing away again at the end.

This race has been the tar­get, and it will be a sur­prise if she does not give a good ac­count on a track that should play to her strengths - be­cause she stays well and gets fur­ther than two and a half miles.

An added bonus is her un­der-rated sta­ble con­tin­ues to go well.

There are fur­ther fi­nals of the North­ern Lights se­ries on the card, with Iolani not out of it on this stiffer cir­cuit in the two-mile fea­ture and Riv­abo­d­iva look­ing a solid pick in the stay­ers’ event.

It is a par­tic­u­larly good af­ter­noon at the Cum­brian venue, with the Smar­kets Bet­ting Ex­change Houghton Mares’ Chase also of note.

It has at­tracted a select field of just four, among whom Peter Bowen’s Welsh Grand Na­tional en­try Rons Dream stands out.

The drought, which has bro­ken else­where in the coun­try, per­sists in the East Mid­lands - and has left Le­ices­ter stag­ing an all-hur­dles card, sadly in­clud­ing a walkover, be­cause of the firm ground.

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