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Junoob too hot to handle for Winter Derby

Junoob could turn out to be a very shrewd claim for Tom Dascombe if he can triumph in the Blue Square Winter Derby at Lingfield.

Discarded from John Dunlop’s yard for just 3,500 guineas at the end of last year, Amy Weaver snapped him up at the sales and subsequently enjoyed two wins in claiming company before Dascombe swooped.

Bought for £12,000, Junoob immediately paid back a fraction of that by finishing second in Listed company before landing a handicap event next time out.

The four-year-old then turned in a slightly disappointing effort but there was much to like about his victory in the Winter Derby Trial.

Dascombe put the blinkers on that day and they seemed to work as Junoob emerged a comfortable victor, albeit in |a slightly weak renewal.

With an excellent turn of pace, things should turn out in Junoob’s favour.

The five-year-old has shone over six furlongs during the winter, notching up three wins on the bounce, most recently when prevailing by a head in a Listed affair.

That victory has to go down as a little lacklustre though as Fratellino, who had previously been two lengths adrift, was only half a length behind that day despite racing off more unfavourable terms.

Oasis Dancer must concede 3lb to that rival this time but Ralph Beckett is sure to have him primed for an improved effort.Kickingthelilly has improved this term and can seal her progression with victory in the bluesquare.com Spring Cup. A number of Cheltenham Festival participants make a swift return to action this weekend, not least

Kentford Grey Lady, who will be hard to beat in the EBF Ultima Business Solutions Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle Finale at Newbury.

She finished just four lengths adrift of Festival queen Quevega in the Mares' Hurdle last Tuesday after finding the early steady pace again her.

Emma Lavelle's charge does not face a rival of that calibre here and if she bounces back quickly, Kentford Grey Lady will be hard to beat.

How's Business earns the vote in the EBF/Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mares' Novices' Chase Finale.

An impressive winner of a Plumpton qualifier last month, Charlie Mann's charge will be fully refreshed this time and ready for a first Listed win.

Galaxy Rock is the one to be on in the Tommy Shone Handicap Hurdle at Bangor, while Phoenix Des Mottes is the one in the SIS Live Handicap Chase at Stratford.