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Lancashire Telegraph racing column
7:17am Thursday 19th December 2013 in News
Bury Parade can continue his ascent up the chasing ranks in the Free Racing Tips Graduation Chase at Exeter.
The seven-year-old claimed the notable scalp of Super Duty on his fencing debut at Carlisle in October of last year, prompting trainer Paul Nicholls and owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing to stump up £100,000 to buy him out of Robert Bewley's yard.
While he did perhaps not progress as expected, he ran well behind Theatrical Star on his final race of the campaign at this track and then made a winning return at Kempton last month, beating a useful yardstick in Hadrian's Approach.
If he can maintain his improvement, there might be a decent prize in him before the season is over.
David Pipe has gone on record as saying he has his best team of novice hurdlers since taking out a licence and Centasia might not be far from the cream of the crop.
She is looking to defy a penalty in the Racing Welfare Mares' Novices' Hurdle after opening her account at the first time of asking over obstacles at Uttoxeter.
Owned by Roger Brookhouse, she finished fourth behind Legacy Gold at Aintree and Brookhouse was suitably impressed enough by the winner that day to pay a significant amount for her at the sales.
Nicky Henderson has endured something of an up-and-down first half of the season with setbacks for his big guns such as Simonsig, Bobs Worth and to a lesser extent Sprinter Sacre.
However, he has also won the Hennessy and the Fighting Fifth so it is wrong to say the yard is not in form.
Call The Cops, a bumper winner and third on his hurdling debut at Southwell, is far from one of the leading lights in the yard but will be all the better for his initial experience when he tackles the Best Racing Blogs On gg.com Maiden Hurdle at Towcester.
The Venetia Williams-trained Gorgehous Lliege was backed as if a bold run was expected in a good race at Haydock last time out but he disappointed.
At the time, though, the yard were just a little quiet and the string is in better form now and he takes in the Winvic Construction Handicap Chase where he looks an interesting runner.
This Is Me scooted in at Kempton a couple of weeks ago and with confidence boosted, can get the job done again in the 32Red On The App Store Handicap at Southwell.
The five-year-old shaped quite encouragingly when runner-up in a Kempton bumper in February of last year, but it is fair to say it has taken a while for him to find his feet switched to the Flat in 2013.
Three no-shows in maidens at Kempton, Windsor and Redcar led to him getting a handicap of just 63, but even then he could not get competitive, finishing last of six Yarmouth and last of 12 at Wolverhampton.
He was expected to fair better on his third handicap start here in November when stepped up to a mile and a half, but could only finish sixth having been sent off favourite and he looked to be running out of excuses.
However, he attracted market support at Kempton at the start of the month and this time it came off as he bounded clear under Graham Lee to win with plenty in hand.
If he is in similar mood he should prove difficult to beat, despite an 8lb rise in the weights.
Odds-on backers had their fingers burned when Winterwell was turned over on her British debut at Wolverhampton a month ago, but she can reward those who keep the faith in the 32Red.com Maiden Fillies' Stakes.
The three-year-old showed a good level of ability in three starts for leading French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, but changed hands for just 5,500 guineas in the summer.
Now with David O'Meara and carrying the increasingly familiar silks of Middleham Park Racing, Winterwell was a 4-6 shot at Dunstall Park, but had to make do with the runner-up spot behind Enfijaar.
In the favourite's defence, the winner is probably a fair sort and given it was Winterwell's first start since late May, improvement is surely a given.
She is interestingly fitted with blinkers as she steps up to a mile and there are likely to be a few long faces if she is unable to get off the mark.
The best bet at Kempton's twilight fixture is the John Gosden-trained Billy Blue, who looks to make it third time lucky in the kempton.co.uk Maiden Stakes.
The High Chaparral colt was a good second on his racecourse debut at Lingfield in early November and was odds-on to go one better over the same course and distance three weeks later.
While he ultimately came up short, again consigned to second by all-the-way winner Hooded, Billy Blue is open to further progress and connections clearly feel it is worth persevering with him.
EXETER: 12.50 Centasia, 1.20 Shammick Boy 1.50 BURY PARADE (NAP), 2.20 Danvilla, 2.50 Bincombe, 3.20 Padre Tito, 3.50 Kings Apollo.
KEMPTON: 4.00 Major Muscari, 4.30 Exclusive Waters, 5.00 Billy Blue, 5.30 Litmus, 6.00 Reimpose, 6.30 Coconell, 7.00 Grey Mirage, 7.30 Triple Chocolate.
SOUTHWELL: 12.00 Grandest, 12.30 Sexy Secret, 1.00 Winterwell, 1.30 This Is Me, 2.00 Two No Bids, 2.30 Jiminy, 3.00 Danzoe, 3.30 Honoured.
TOWCESTER: 12.40 Call The Cops, 1.10 Faith Keeper, 1.40 Mountain Tunes, 2.10 Gorgehous Lliege, 2.40 Changing Lanes, 3.10 Carli King, 3.40 No Pushover.
DOUBLE: Bury Parade and This Is Me
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