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Dark Horses 9th March

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2:50 Catterick – Sweet Auburn

It has been a record-breaking season for Donald McCain and Brian Hughes and the leading team in the North have another good chance with SWEET AUBURN. She is a daughter of ASK and has already proved that she has sufficient ability to make a career as a race mare, with a win in a Point-to-Point at Moira in October and then a winning debut under rules when she won a Sedgefield bumper on Boxing Day. She has placed in 2 subsequent starts in that sphere, carrying a penalty both times and looks to have been found a very winnable opportunity on her hurdles debut. Most of this field are relatively exposed and have had plenty of chances to break their maiden tags without succeeding, so she may not need to run beyond a mark of 110 to win this. Her connections will have her well-schooled for her hurdles debut and it will be a surprise if she isn’t competitive at the first time of asking over hurdles.

3:25 Catterick – Highate Hill

As we head towards the end of the jumps season, there are a lot of horses who will start to be put away until May to preserve their novice status. Therefore, it is a little surprising to see HIGHATE HILL making his chase debut in March. A winning pointer in 2018, he hasn’t set the world alight in bumpers or over hurdles, but there is some reason to believe that he will make a better chaser. He won his Point-to-Point at Damma House by 4-lengths and has always looked like he would improve for a fence. He made his return from a 531-day absence at Uttoxeter in January, where he finished a creditable 5th in a handicap hurdle. With the benefit of that run, Olly Murphy now sends him over fences in what looks to be a relatively weak contest. Da Vinci Hand was an impressive winner here last week, but he has 12-6 to carry with his penalty and that could make him vulnerable, with Highate Hill the most obvious improver in the field.

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