Lucy Wadham is hoping Minstrels Gallery can go one better than on his previous visit to Fakenham when returning to the track today.
On his sole outing at the West Norfolk course back in October, the six-year-old finished second behind useful Flat horse Kiama Bay in a two-mile novices’ hurdle.
Today’s race will not only see the son of Refuse To Bend step outside of handicap company over hurdles for the first time, but it will all see him step up to race over a two-and-a-half miles for the first time.
“I think Minstrels Gallery is high enough in the weights for what he has done in his three runs over hurdles but he is improving,” said the Newmarket handler. “He is very well and we are happy with him.
“He handles the track well at Fakenham and we are hoping he will run better than he did last time there.”
In the concluding 2m7f handicap hurdle on the six-race card, Wadham is set to be represented by former course and distance winner Mistral Reine and Artifice Sivola, who will be having his first outing in more than 230 days.
“Mistral Reine has lost her way a little bit so we have decided to put cheekpieces on her to spark her up and get her a bit more interested” said Wadham. “The softer ground will also help.
“Artifice Sivola is coming back from a long break and he might just need the race.
“He is quite a free traveller and he might just wear himself out as he was quite keen on his first run last year.
“He is quite well handicapped though.”
Away from action at Fakenham Wadham has revealed the next port of call for her smart mare Baby Shine who was last seen finishing a gallant third behind Bertie Boru in a Class Three handicap chase at Newbury in November, and A Boy Named Suzi who opened his account over hurdles at Wetherby on Saturday.
“Baby Shine was supposed to run in a Listed mares chase at Doncaster on Monday but that meeting was abandoned. Although she has entries at Sandown over the weekend she won’t run in them and will head back to Doncaster a week tomorrow for that rescheduled chase,” said Wadham. “A Boy Named Suzi was a pretty good horse on the Flat and has taken to hurdles well.
“He had quite a hard race on Saturday and he won’t be out for a few weeks. I suspect we may aim him at the Imperial Cup at Sandown then maybe Aintree,” said Wadham.
n Parlour Games, trained in Cowlinge by John Ferguson, looks to be set for a trip to the Cheltenham Festival in March after winning the Grade One Betfred Goals Galore Challow Novices Hurdle on Monday.