Fox on the prowl for Doncaster honours

Williams targets Listed prize on Town Moor.

  • Thursday 23 January
  • News
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Fantastic Ms Fox will attempt to make it back-to-back victories at Doncaster in the Sky Bet Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle on Friday.

The four-year-old failed to complete on her hurdles debut in December, but put that behind her when an impressive winner over course and distance during the Christmas period.

Trainer Noel Williams has been pleased with her progress since and feels she deserves a shot at gaining black type in the two-mile Listed contest.

Williams said: “I’m very happy with her and it was nice to get the win here last time. She finished her race strongly so the natural progression would be to go for a Listed race.

“I started her off at this level at Aintree and we didn’t get to see her in her best light when she stumbled and unseated, but we are hoping she’ll competitive in this.

“There are a few good horses in it though, so it will be tough.”

Despite her victory, the daughter of Foxwedge did hang left in the closing stages, but the Oxfordshire handler thinks that was a one-off.

“It might have been just a bit of inexperience,” Williams added.

“She didn’t do it when trained on the Flat and she’s improved from her last race at home.

“We’re not concerned about it at the moment.”

Leighton Aspell will get the leg-up on Fantastic Ms Fox, who is set to reoppose her Aintree conqueror Midnights’ Gift.

Alan King’s filly was a 12-length winner that day and was not disgraced behind the smart Marie’s Rock at Taunton last time.

Also in the nine-runner field is Galice Macalo, who took a crashing final flight fall in the Aintree contest when alongside Midnights’ Gift.

Earlier on the card, classy performer Winter Escape will make his debut for Ben Haslam in the Sky Bet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Chase.

The nine-year-old has not won since landing a Grade Three in Ireland a year ago and was last seen finishing midfield in the Paddy Power Chase for previous trainer Aidan Howard.

He has since switched to Haslam’s yard and the North Yorkshire-based handler is hopeful his new recruit can return to winning ways in the two-mile contest.

“He’s a lovely horse and is very easy to deal with,” he said.

“His form in Ireland was very good and he travelled well in all of his races, but perhaps didn’t quite stay three miles.

“This is a large drop in trip, but it’s not necessarily the most competitive race for a handicap, so it shouldn’t be beyond his reach off his current mark.”

Winter Escape will be giving weight all-round to his rivals, who include previous Cheltenham Festival winners Croco Bay and Hawk High.

Fox on the prowl for Doncaster honours

Doncaster 14:25, 24 January 2020

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