Armaturk for repeat Lingfield victory
Racing in Britain: Armaturk makes plenty of appeal in the Ladbrokes.com Handicap Chase at Lingfield today.
Paul Nicholls's inmate has proved a credit to connections since arriving from France in 2001 and registered the 12th win of his career when securing a valuable Listed chase over course and distance in October.
The son of Baby Turk won the same race last season, so it is no surprise to find that Armaturk's form over the last few campaigns shows a distinct pattern - the eight-year-old has a tendency to run his best races on his first couple of starts back from a break.
That is exactly what happened when he won the first of those Listed victories last October, following up with a defeat of Well Chief. However, it was not until coming back from his summer holidays this October that Armaturk returned to top form and landed the double.
He has been subsequently beaten into fifth behind Bold Bishop at Cheltenham in November, but has not run since, which means he'll be coming back from a 50-day absence and that may be long enough to see him re-emerge at the top of his game.
There may be some profit to be had by backing Naos De Mirande in the handicap hurdle. Trained in France by Thierry Doumen, the son of Smadoun notched a brace over timber at Pau and Auteuil last season before finishing a creditable fourth to the high-class Mid Dancer at Auteuil on his seasonal return earlier this month.
That will have put the four-year-old spot on and it is fair to assume that the value of his form may be underestimated by some.
In Media Res, a winning stayer on the Flat when in the care of David Smaga, has made a grand start to his new career over timber, winning both outings, and is fancied to extend his sequence by landing the Betfredcasino Handicap Hurdle at Uttoxeter.
The first of those victories was achieved in good style over 17 furlongs in May and he revealed a decent turn of foot to score over slightly further at Folkestone on his return to action earlier this month.
Further successes will surely follow.
Unbeaten in two outings over fences, The Listener is fancied to extend his winning sequence by seeing the opposition off in Sunday's Unicoin Homes "Dipper" Novices' Chase.
By easily defeating previously successful Star De Mohaison over an extended two miles and three furlongs at Exeter a month ago, Robert Alner's gelding marked himself down as a potentially useful chaser in the making, but better was to come.
Stepping up to Grade Two company, he annihilated some decent rivals at Windsor just over a fortnight ago, recording a 13-length success despite being heavily eased down in the closing stages.
His jumping has been hard to fault so far and, with his limitations yet to be exposed, The Listener should be followed until beaten.
Trainer Philip Hobbs has also unearthed a potential star in the shape of unbeaten hurdler Boychuk, who is fancied to take all the beating in the stanjamesuk.com Challow Novices' Hurdle.
Not seen since completing his hat-trick by winning Cheltenham's Grade Two Sharp Novices' Hurdle, Boychuk should be even better at the distance he now faces and warrants further support.