By James Daly
Improving seven year old, Vinnie Lewis was visually impressive when winning the Class 3 Sussex National last time out at Plumpton , over an extended 3 miles 4 furlongs, and can take the Class 2 Eider handicap chase over four furlongs further, tomorrow at Newcastle .
Prior to Plumpton, the horse had won nicely at Sedgefield, goes in heavy ground and at around 5/1 currently, must be a reasonable bet to step up to the plate, for rookie trainer Harry Whittington. Of the opposition, David Pipe’s Daklondike won well over 3 miles 2 furlongs at Newbury last time out, has a similar profile to Vinnie Lewis and, if taking to the course, will be staying on at the finish .At a slightly bigger price, Milansbar could be worth a small each way saver .Easy to back in last month’s Classic chase at Warwick, the horse won that race convincingly and ,with Bryony Frost likely to take the ride again, might be able to finish in the three, despite a large hike in the weights and having run poorly in the race last year .Smooth Stepper is another to consider, with trainer Sue Smith’s string in such good order, but there must be stamina doubts about this 9 year old in the ground.
Tomorrow also sees the Group 3 Winter Derby run over ten furlongs, on the all-weather at Lingfield. Aidan O’ Brien has the likely favourite in the 5-year-old mare Clear Skies and she should be clear inside the last furlong, despite some strong male opposition.