We have two runners at Doncaster today, with Massini’s Maguire making his debut for the yard in the veteran’s handicap chase and Rev It Up switching to hurdles for the first time since dead-heating with Palace Jester on Welsh National day in 2011.

Massini’s Maguire

Alan Peterson’s Massini’s Maguire has been off for two years and a day and hopefully this will blow away the cobwebs as we prepare him for a tilt at the Grand National in April, which is now just six weeks away.

I am hopeful that a return to hurdling will see Rev It Up return to his old self.  The winner of three of his four starts over hurdles, he always looked likely to make a better chaser but we have had an interrupted time of it with him over the past couple of seasons and it would just be nice to see him enjoying it today.

Also on the comeback trail is Juno The Muffinman, who refused to race in a jumpers’ bumper at Kempton Park on Sunday.  Though a character, he hasn’t threatened to do that in the past and hopefully he will be on his best behaviour at Ludlow today.

Bucking The Trend winning at Fontwell last time

We could be set for a busy weekend and, the feature of which will hopefully be Our Island, who is an intended runner in the Eider.  He definitely gets in the race and, while we may be a couple of pounds out of the handicap if the top horse runs, we’d be running off a mark of 119, which is 8lbs lower than when 5th in the Welsh National a year ago.

The marathon trip and heavy ground will play to his strengths and he seems in great nick at home, so we are all looking forward to Saturday with him and I certainly wouldn’t swap him for anything in the race.
He could well be joined on the 680 mile round trip to Newcastle by Bucking The Trend, who holds an entry in the 3m novice chase that opens the card.  Though also engaged in the Pendil at Kempton Park, he is a real stayer who should be well-suited by Newcastle and the course have put on some excellent prize-money, so the card really deserves to be supported.
Saved By John (left) finishing 2nd at Ascot in December

I feel so sorry for the team at Chepstow, where the last four meetings have had to be abandoned due to waterlogging.  The forecast looks pretty good for them this week, especially in comparison with what we have had to deal with so far this year and I hope they get the all-clear to go ahead on Saturday, where Saved By John is likely to run in the 2m handicap chase.

A tremendously consistent sort (he has finished in the first three on 10 of 12 completed starts for us), he finished runner-up on his first two starts this season before finishing 5th on his latest outing at Cheltenham in December.  The handicapper has dropped him back 3lbs to his Ascot mark and, though it looks a tough contest, I think he will extremely competitive at a course that plays to his strengths.

We also have a host of entries in bumpers across the weekend and, weather permitting, we’ll be hoping to start off several of our youngsters.