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Distance will suit Etikaal down to ground


WINNING PATH: Etikaal. Photo: Grossick Racing Photography

WINNING PATH: Etikaal. Photo: Grossick Racing Photography

WINNING PATH: Etikaal. Photo: Grossick Racing Photography

A return to seven furlongs can see Etikaal get back on the winning path in the Bombardier Golden Beer Handicap at Newcastle.

Successful over that distance by a tidy length and a half at this course in November on his first start for 73 days, he has had mixed fortunes when dropped back to six furlongs for his last two races.

He got up in the final half-furlong to beat Zebulon in December, but could not quite get to the principals when a never-nearer third to Wasntexpectingthat last month.

Grant Tuer's charge runs off the same mark, and it looked to be the shorter trip rather than a 10lb rise for his two wins that brought about his defeat.

Blow Your Horn showed plenty of promise when runner-up on his debut and can go one better in the Bombardier British Hopped Amber Beer Novice Stakes.

The son of Golden Horn did little right for most of the race, but the penny appeared to drop in the closing stages when he stayed on to take second place behind Union. The three-year-old colt, trained by Charlie Fellowes, will have learnt plenty and should waste no more time opening his account.

Barrington has been knocking on the door, and can gain just reward in the Betway Handicap.

Mick Appleby's six-year-old has finished a creditable second on his last two starts elsewhere - and although he is edging up the handicap, this stiff six furlongs may turn out to be perfect for him.

At Chelmsford, Elusif can continue his winning run in the Peter Andre Ladies' Day Handicap.

Phil McEntee's gelding has been in rare old form - rattling up three wins this month since joining his current trainer, including over seven furlongs here last time out.

Quickening up when asked, he won, easing down in the end, and McEntee's daughter Grace is very good value for her 7lb claim taking over from Martin Dwyer.

The rider can make it a double with Green Door in the tote.co.uk Handicap.

She teamed up with Robert Cowell's charge to win at Lingfield at the end of last month, triumphing in decent style in what was admittedly only an average sprint event.

That was Green Door's first win in over a year, so it should have given him a nice confidence boost and a 3lb rise might not be enough to anchor the nine-year-old.

Another one to watch at the Essex circuit is Prince Of Eagles, who goes in the Ministry Of Sound And Light Extravaganza Handicap.