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Thursday 5 December 2019

Top Of The Charts can hit heights again for Cromwell

Champion Hurdle-winning trainer can land Blazers after plotting perfect course into the famous old race

FLYING HIGH: Top Of The Charts can score. Photo: racingpost.com
FLYING HIGH: Top Of The Charts can score. Photo: racingpost.com

Gavin Cromwell is one of the best trainers in the country - we saw that when Espoir D'allen was brought to the boil perfectly, almost out of nowhere, to win the Champion Hurdle in March.

This evening's Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Chase might not carry the same weight as the Cheltenham championship race but it is an institution in its own right and there is nearly 50 grand on offer to the winner here.

Cromwell saddles TOP OF THE CHARTS (6.15, Galway) for the Eightsnotfours Syndicate and he looks again as though he has plotted a course perfectly to the big race.

The suspicion is that the former farrier has had this contest in mind for a long time and a couple of quick and easy wins have navigated him to this handicap with a rating of 113, with just 9st 13lb to carry on his back.

He will feel like he's running free, but Jonathan Moore does the steering here and the pair can be expected to go very close.

Rated 95 going into a handicap chase at Wexford, he got half the job done, keeping on well to win by nearly four lengths, and off they went to Perth off a mark of 108.

Needing a win to get into the race this evening, Top Of The Charts scored by seven lengths and, as a bonus, he has only been raised to his current mark of 113.

Lively

That leaves him at the foot of the weights and with a very lively chance.

The feature race of the day is the Guinness Handicap and the big question is whether or not Mr Adjudictor should be backed again after his unlucky fourth earlier in the week.

He never got a run then in the amateur race, but there is a huge concern about the drop in trip and preference is for Joseph O'Brien's KING'S VOW (6.50, Galway). He only found an extremely well-handicapped rival too good in the Ulster Derby last time but still looks to be improving.

On that evidence, and despite being raised another 4lb, he should still be very competitive.

We had our first dual winner of the week yesterday and BERCASA (5.10, Galway) can do the same by landing the opening Guinness Galway Tribes Handicap Hurdle.

Excellent

Tom Mullins' mare was given an excellent ride to score here on Wednesday, under David Mullins, and the pair can repeat the performance under a 7lb penalty.

Jessica Harrington has had a quiet week so far, but she can hit the target in the James's Gate Irish EBF Median Auction Maiden with ALPINE STAR (5.45, Galway).

The juvenile ran a fine race on debut when finishing third at Leopardstown under tender handling a few weeks back.

She will have learned loads from that experience and can be expected to come on a tonne for it and break her maiden this evening.

In the fillies' maiden, HAZEL BAY (7.25 Galway) is probably Dermot Weld's (right) best chance of a winner this week and she should get the job done well.

Rated 93, she is easily the most talented in today's race and can give Ben Coen a Festival winner while in the wide-open Arthur Guinness Handicap, CAFE CON LECHE (7.55, Galway) can score on his handicap debut for Denis Hogan and Seamie Heffernan.

Hogan applies cheekpieces for the first time on this lad, who isn't harshly treated, running off 69, and with a middle draw of stall 11.

Finally, THE KING (8.25 Galway) should have way too much for his rivals in the Rockshore Apple Cider Race.

Rated 107, he should easily account for this lot and send punters home happy.

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