Pam Sly hoping to put Cheltenham plans together for Actinpieces

Thu 18 Jan 2018

Pam Sly is keeping her fingers crossed dreams of taking Actinpieces to the Cheltenham Festival are not shattered by the handicapper following her victory in the feature race at Ludlow.

The Singlecote trainer hopes the seven-year-old is not given a rating over 145 in the wake of her four-length success in the January Handicap Chase to enable her to take her chance in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup on March 15.

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Sly said of the 3-1 winner: "She wanted the better ground and that is why we came across to Ludlow. She got bogged down last time at Wetherby. She was gaining all the time in the Rowland Meyrick and with another 10 yards she would have won."

The trainer added: "That was a good race today against other 130-plus rated horses. I had hoped to get her in the Kim Muir, but that has a ceiling of 145 so I don't know whether she will get in there.

"She was only beaten a neck in a Listed hurdle at Cheltenham so we know she goes round there all right."

Kerry Lee has her sights set on securing Listed glory with Happy Diva after the seven-year-old opened her account over fences at the fourth time of asking with a nine-length success in the EBF Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mares' Novices' Chase.

Lee said of her 11-10 chance: "She has finally had a race run to suit her over fences and I think two and a half miles is the right trip.

"We ran her over three miles at Newbury last time, we really wanted to run her over two and a half at Warwick but that was abandoned.

"Richard Patrick is the only one to have won on her and I left riding tactics up to him. He rode her to play to her strengths.

"There is a Listed mares' race at Huntingdon on February 22 worth £30,000 and that will be right up her street. That looks a sensible option."

Rising star of the weighing room James Bowen kept a calm head to overcome trouble in running late on and steer the Nicky Henderson-trained Melangerie to a second successive win at the track in the Plymouth Carvery Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

Despite being short of room over the second-last, the 5lb claimer bided his time before delivering the 6-5 favourite with her challenge over the last to run out a comfortable winner of the two-mile event.

Henderson said: "I think that was a good enough performance from her today. There were potentially three nice mares in the race with the runner-up and the one that fell at the last (Rouergate).

"She did well as she got in trouble. She did well to get out of that and she did well to win.

"It was a good ride from James and he won't be claiming for long."

Call Me Sid turned into the bookies' best friend when getting up by half a length under David Bass to run out the shock 100-1 winner of the Jubilee Restaurant Maiden Hurdle for trainer Jennifer Mason.

Grade Two-winning chaser Virak (10-11) ended a barren run stretching back more than two and a half years when providing trainer Paul Nicholls with a winner from his only runner on the card in the Chase Meredith Memorial Trophy Open Hunters Chase.

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