Our racing expert marks your card for Thursday's action.
The in-form Brian Ellison has double prospects at Carlisle this afternoon.
He runs two in the opening handicap hurdle for conditional jockeys with 8lb claimer Kaine Wood on board Ebazon and Megan Carberry taking 3lb off the back of stablemate DOMINADA, and the latter horse looks the one to be on.
The four-year-old won on his first attempt over hurdles at Uttoxeter last summer before finding only Mountainside too good under a penalty at Market Rasen on his next start. That horse has gone from strength to strength since, winning three more times, including a handicap hurdle at Perth off a mark of 124, so the Ellison runner could be very well treated indeed off a perch of 105 this afternoon.
Fitness isn’t an issue either as the selection has been busy on the flat and has made the frame on three of his last four runs since winning over 1m6f at Musselburgh in May. The ground was perhaps a little softer than he likes when fourth at Catterick last time and should today’s ‘good’ ideal.
The booking of Carberry can be seen as another positive as she has an eye-catching 44% (7-16) strike rate on the stable jumpers and won on one of her only two rides at this track.
Ellison is using the services of Paddy Brennan in the novices’ limited handicap chase run later on the card and his mount, OSCAR BLUE, wont be far away despite top weight.
The six-year-old doesn’t look too badly treated on a mark of 125 for his chase debut given the level of form he showed in the early part of last season, with back-to-back wins at Hexham and Kelso followed by a creditable second behind Isaacstown Lad, who was winning for the fourth time. That was a bonus as he is bred to be a better chaser.
His form tailed off in three subsequent runs and he was pulled up when last seen out at Haydock in March. However, it transpired that he was having problems with his breathing and was given an operation. That, according to Ellison in a recent Stable Tour, has been a success and made a “significant difference” to a horse described by his trainer as having “plenty of talent” who should win more races this season.