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Sunday 17 December 2017

Twentytwo's Taken can repay a nice chunk of her not inconsiderable price tag by landing the EBF & TBA Mares' 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle Race Finale at Newbury.

Twentytwo's Taken can repay a nice chunk of her not inconsiderable price tag by landing the EBF & TBA Mares' 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle Race Finale at Newbury.

The seven-year-old changed hands for £150,000 late last year after winning two bumpers here in Ireland before being placed in a Listed heat behind Lyrical Theatre, who has developed into a useful hurdler. Twentytwo's Taken has not made such progress yet. While she struck gold for new handler David Pipe at Fakenham in January, she could not back that up next time as she was beaten 15 lengths at Plumpton.

Admittedly she raced far too keenly that day and paid the price at the finish, but her eager style of racing was not too much of a hindrance when getting back on track at Exeter last month. The King's Theatre mare ran out a cosy seven-length winner on that occasion and looked certain to be capable of even more in due course.

Clearly Twentytwo's Taken has oodles of ability. It would be no surprise if she could put the pieces together in this Listed prize.

Spookydooky can bring up his hat-trick in the Thakeham Handicap Hurdle at Kelso.

Jonjo O'Neill endured a disappointing Cheltenham with only Gold Cup fourth Holywell really figuring in the marquee events, but Spookydooky can raise the stable spirits in this competitive heat.

The seven-year-old has not seen too much racing a horse of his age and after a mixed bag of results, this former point-to-point winner eventually managed to get his head in front under Rules when landing a Doncaster hurdle back in January.

He saw off a stablemate by seven lengths that day, incurring a 9lb hike in the weights but that increased burden proved no bar to success as he subsequently went in again at Southwell last month.

While he scored by a more moderate three and a half lengths that day, he appeared to still have a fair bit in hand and although a 13lb rise is not ideal, the handicapper may not quite have his full measure yet.

OSCAR ROCK is the choice in the John Smith's Novices' Handicap Chase as he continues to make some quiet progress for Malcolm Jefferson.

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