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Elliott and Spencer to make their mark at Wolverhampton


Markhan, with Connor Beasley on board, on the way to winning at Ayr last August

Markhan, with Connor Beasley on board, on the way to winning at Ayr last August

Markhan, with Connor Beasley on board, on the way to winning at Ayr last August

Gordon Elliott will be an irregular but much-feared force at Wolverhampton - especially after enlisting the assistance of the returning Jamie Spencer in the saddle.

That is a broad hint that the top Irish jumps trainer means business with the two runners he sends over from Meath today.

Elliott and Spencer team up first with MARKHAN in the Betway Stayers' Handicap.


The six-year-old has been in encouraging form since switching back from hurdles to Dundalk's all-weather surface of late - and while jumping, he proved his stamina for this extended two-mile trip.

Three weeks ago, Markhan came within a nose of recording his second win in three Dundalk attempts at up to a mile and a half - and irrespective of his connections, he comes into this five-runner handicap with the most convincing profile.

Stuart Edmunds' Red Royalist also returned from hurdles last time with a creditable but far from compelling runner-up spot behind the in-form Blazon at Kempton - with another rival, Moon Of Baroda, also faring with some promise on his return from a break.

But neither they nor top-weight Alabaster, still feeling his way back after an 18-month break and gelding operation, are an obvious bar to victory for Markhan.

Elliott and Spencer may well be at it again in the concluding Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Novice Stakes.

Their representative COUNTING SHEEP failed to get closer than eight and a quarter lengths to the winner in two autumn runs on the turf - but he split two Ballydoyle juveniles when runner-up at his second attempt at Thurles.

John Gosden fields the principal opposition this time with Albert Finney - who eventually stayed on well over seven furlongs here last month but will need to improve significantly for the step up in trip.

At Lingfield, there appears to be every reason to side again with the hat-trick-seeking HAPPY ESCAPE.

Tony Carroll's mare acquires her third jockey in her last three starts, and is up 7lb in all since she started winning again.

At Plumpton, MIDNIGHT BLISS will be hard to stop in the Saxon Sussex Lager Handicap Chase as long as the ground does not get too soft.

LEICESTER: 1.10 Clarendon Street, 1.40 Cloth Cap, 2.10 Mister Chow, 2.40 Antunes, 3.10 Abbreviate, 3.40 Micras, 4.10 Bold Reason.

LINGFIELD: 1.50 Narjes, 2.20 Dawn Crusade, 2.50 Happy Escape, 3.20 Minuty, 3.50 Scorched Breath, 4.20 Amazing Amaya.

PLUMPTON: 2.00 Flaminger, 2.30 Hint Of Grey, 3.00 Third Wind, 3.30 Volcano, 4.00 Midnight Bliss, 4.30 Generous Jack.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 4.45 King Oswald, 5.15 MARKHAN (NAP), 5.45 Your Band, 6.15 Falls Creek, 6.45 Skyva, 7.15 Viola Park, 7.45 Woggle, 8.15 Counting Sheep.

DOUBLE: Scorched Breath and Markhan.