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NIVEN’S USEFUL WINNER ATOMIX FOLLOWS THE CLEVER COOKIE BUMPER ROUTE AT MUSSELBURGH
Formerly with Clive Brittain and looks another shrewd purchase by Dallas Racing. Afkar took a couple of runs before finding his feet for Ivan Furtado but has adapted brilliantly to the Fibresand in recent weeks.
Up 5lb for scoring over course and distance last month, Afkar was just outpointed by in-form Welliesinthewater after a prolonged tussle. He has winning form at Kempton, too, so more all-weather success is on the cards.
Scored over 1m 4f here in December so it was slightly surprising to see him sent off favourite dropping back to an extended nine furlongs in what looked a tougher event.
Keith Dalgleish’s gelding emerged with credit in fifth having struggled to muster the acceleration needed to go with the principals off the home bend.
Corton Lad scored off a 6lb lower mark over 10 furlongs at Ayr in the summer and he probably needs a little help from the handicapper before resuming winning ways.
He might be just the galloping type to do well on Newcastle’s synthetic surface, as he boasts winning turf form there.
Had little hope of beating the 132-rated Wade Harper or desperately unlucky runner-up Double W’s (badly hampered by faller), but Banny’s Lad belied odds of 40-1 by running third, beaten eight lengths, in this 2m 3f novices’ hurdle.
His only other public appearance under rules had come in a hunters’ chase at Sedgefield last April when tailed off, despite starting 2-1 favourite.
Mick Easterby’s seven-year-old has scope for improvement.
Proved himself a sharp two-year-old for David Elsworth a couple of seasons ago by rattling off an early-season hat-trick before being pitched into the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot won by The Wow Signal.
Speedball Justice Good led until the furlong pole before weakening into fourth but was then off the track for 10 months.
This was the colt’s second fairly quick run on the Polytrack, starting 25-1 on both occasions, but Justice Good hinted he was on the way back with a fine sixth to course specialist Rivellino in this Listed contest.
Raised 9lb for his thrashing of Wolverhampton scorer Archipeligo over course and distance in January, Lac Leman was thrown into the lions’ den here.
The five-year-old eventually paid the price for trying to match strides with impressive front-running winner Charbel and was already beaten when slithering on landing three out.
Pauline Robson will surely lower Lac Leman’s sights after a break and with the third horse he beat by 27 lengths at Musselburgh, Rocklim, also winning next time, she has a horse worth following in the north.
Peter Niven introduced stable star Clever Cookie in a Musselburgh bumper (beating the subsequently very useful Glingerburn) and he has another lovely type in Atomix.
The son of Doyen showed distinct promise on his Catterick debut when chasing home John Ferguson’s High Bridge and the race is working out well.
Third horse, Philip Hobbs’s Shambougg, was a Warwick winner next time out and punters fairly smashed into Atomix to beat Gordon Elliott’s Irish point winner Moonman.
The market rivals fought out the finish in a slowly-run affair, with Atomix proving just the stronger. It looked a decent contest and it will be interesting to see if canny Scot Niven does a ‘Clever Cookie’ and runs Atomix on the Flat as well as over hurdles in future.
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