DAN GUN (11.25) can make it first blood to Dan Skelton in the opening 2m 3f handicap hurdle at Bangor, the gelding bidding to supplement his Stratford victory 19 days ago.
Dan Gun is up 9lb but scored twice off this sort of mark for previous trainer Fergal O’Brien. Reigning champion Brian Hughes gets the leg up on the Nicky Richards-trained mare Rubytwo, not without a chance as her official rating continues to drop.
It should be Skelton to the fore once again in the 2m 4f handicap chase, this time aboard DOG OF WAR (1.25). The seven-year-old took time to warm to his task at Exeter 11 days ago, eventually powering through late to master Hazzaar on his favoured good to firm ground. Hughes may have to play second fiddle aboard Market Rasen winner Armattiekan, with Tom George’s course and distance winner Tribesmans Glory in the mix as well.
There is also an early start at Thirsk and MOTAKHAYYEL (2.10) is of interest in the 7f Conditions Stakes later on the card. Richard Hannon’s five-year-old has won twice on his return from long absences so might be one to catch fresh. Toro Strike is probably the one to beat in receipt of 4lb.
GEORGE PEABODY (2.40) is fancied to follow up his clear-cut success at last month’s Doncaster Lincoln meeting. George Scott has a nice prospect on his hands and George Peabody can defy a penalty in the one-mile novice stakes. Previous winner Invincible Swagger also carries a penalty and Roger Varian’s Kempton scorer will have his supporters.
At Nottingham, KALMA (5.45) should go off at decent odds under Tom Queally in the Class 6 handicap over 1m 2f. The Alan King-trained filly was an unconsidered 28-1 shot on her comeback run at Wolverhampton but caught the eye staying on into fourth behind Spirit Of Rowdown.
Kalma finished more than three lengths in front of sixth-placed Blu Boy and that horse destroyed his rivals at Newcastle on Thursday evening. Easy Chelmsford City nursery winner Eagles Dare is rated a danger, with Oisin Murphy a notable booking.