Hobbs chaser worth the nap


Ragamuff can show the benefit of his first run over fences by landing the Norfolk Novices' Handicap Chase at Fontwell today. Philip Hobbs's son of El Conquistador showed fair form over hurdles a couple of seasons ago before sitting out the whole of the 1996/97 campaign.

He showed that he was over his troubles with a decent third over hurdles at Hereford on his seasonal reappearance and gave the distinct impression on his latest outing, his chasing debut, that he was up to winning a race over fences.

Starting at 12 to 1 for a novice handicap over an extended two miles and five furlongs at Newton Abbot, Ragamuff put up arguably his best effort with a good second to Luke Warm.

Never far away from the pace despite making the odd mistake, the bay was asked for an effort approaching the second-last fence but could do no more after the final obstacle, going down by six lengths at the finish. That performance suggested that a race of a modest quality would be within the six-year-old's compass. He could scarcely have a better partner to help him at his fences than Richard Dunwoody, and Ragamuff is napped to see off some poor opponents.

Martin Pipe and Tony McCoy look to have sound prospects of a Fontwell double.

Kasterlee, third at Windsor on his hurdling debut, can take the A and D Landscapes Juvenile Novices' Hurdle, while Doctoor should make a winning reappearance in the Strebel Boilers And Radiators Handicap Hurdle Series (Final).

At Catterick, Craigary can take the Calderprint Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.

Southwell's Welland Novices' Chase can go to Royal Event, from the in-form David Gandolfo yard.