Chief can rule over fences

CHIEF DAN GEORGE failed to reach the expected heights in top staying hurdle company last season but he can compensate for a blank year at Sedgefield today.

The eight-year-old switches to fences for the first time after a barren campaign which saw him comprehensively outclasses by the likes of Inglis Drever and Blazing Bailey amongst others.

He was once a high-class novice hurdler for James Moffatt though, beating the likes of Wichita Lineman and Massini’s Maguire in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree in 2007 .

Moffatt felt the ground was against Chief Dan George throughout last season but back on easier ground and against lesser company in the Beginners’ Chase, he should make a winning fencing bow.

Charlie Mann is facing a big weekend with Air Force One set to tackle the Hennessy and Gauvain can give the stable a nice confidence boost at Lingfield.

He failed to impress on his chasing bow at Exeter but he showed up much better when second behind Free World at Sandown last time.

The winner is a highly-rated type so there was little disgrace in an eight-length loss and Gauvain could well make it third time lucky in the Felbridge Beginners’ Chase.

Mylord Collonges can make a successful start for new trainer Mark Rimell in the Ashdown Forest Handicap Chase.

A three-time winner for Susan Nock last season, the eight-year-old looks ready to develop into a nice handicapper this term.

There are few trainers shrewder than Alan Swinbank and he can advertise his talents once again with Shiwawa in the Call 01636 814481 To Sponsor A Race Maiden Stakes at Southwell.

The Melsonby handler was one of the first to target flat-bred animals at weak bumper races, an ideal way to build up the confidence of a horse.

The exploits of Turbo Linn are still fresh in the memory and Alfie Flits, winner of a smart novice hurdle at Haydock on Saturday, also started out in that fashion.

Shiwawa is by Halling, a top-class Flat performer who is also the sire of Aigle D’Or.

Swinbank gives his horses plenty of time to mature into their frames and Shiwawa did not make his racecourse bow until he was a four-year-old.

It was a winning bow in a bumper at Worcester though, and he then followed up under a penalty at Stratford before defying a double penalty at Hexham.

Those wins came two years ago but he showed the engine was still intact when finishing third in a decent event at Sandown under 12st.

The mile-and-a-half trip maybe slightly on the short side on his Flat debut but hopefully his class should see him through.

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