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Ground And Trip Ideal For Five-Year-Old

The going is heavy at Sandown today and the ability to go on, it plus staying power to get up the finishing straight hill are necessary characteristics to look for in the search for winners. CROSSGALESFAMEGAME contests the Elmbridge Mares' Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles and on form and breeding fulfils those criteria.

She started her racing career in the Spring of 2018 in the Irish point-to-point field with two placed efforts, keeping on well at the end of three miles in both. Transferred to Fergal O'Brien's Gloucestershire stable, she made her UK debut at Wincanton on Boxing Day, 2018, coming in just under 10 lengths behind the winner in a bumper. She wasn't put under any pressure there and stayed on without showing blinding speed. Obviously well thought of, she was next sent to Market Rasen for a listed National Hunt Flat Race, and although again not troubling the judge ran well to be fifth of six, beaten 11 lengths. Winner Who What When who went on to contest Class 1 bumpers at Aintree and Cheltenham.

The mare’s introduction to hurdles took place at Huntingdon in October, when, after nine months away from the course, she ran a race full of promise to be fourth to Fricka over a shade under two and a half miles. That mare has come out since and looked the winner before tipping up, and the third, Timetochill has won her two subsequent races. Crossgalesfamegame then went to Market Rasen for a mares' maiden hurdle on heavy ground. In context, it was quite a performance. Jumping economically, she was in the first three throughout before coming away impressively at the second last. She would have won by a greater margin if the contest had been over further and her progress can be measured by the proximity - or lack of it- of favourite Who's The Boss, 27 lengths back in third. She was just over 10 lengths in front in Fricka's race and that represents a turnaround and improvement of over 30 lengths by Crossgalesfamegame, taking into account a 5lb weight change.

Today’s contest is clearly a step-up in class, but with her stamina, progress and ability on the ground the mare is the choice.The trainer has a six from 17 win rate at the course and is an encouraging 17% when putting today's pilot Connor Brace up, two stats that add further encouragement.

AIMEE DE SIVOLA has been backed into favourite but may lack the selection's potential for improvement and DEPUTY OSCAR might be the threat and is top rated on BTO. UNE DE LA SENIERE can get a place at 6/1 but Murphy's charge looks an investment at the 9/2 offered by Bet365 and BetVictor.

G Lees

Article Posted on Saturday 7th December 2019 @ 10.43

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