Harry Fry is confident Ishkhara Lady can extend her unbeaten record by proving a cut above the opposition in the MansionBet Preparing For A Merry Cheltmas Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Wincanton tomorrow (Thursday 11th March).
The lightly raced seven year old will bid to make it four wins from as many starts when taking on 15 rivals on her hurdles debut in the extended 1m 7f contest.
After making a winning debut at Plumpton in December 2018 the Scorpion mare returned from a 669 day absence to score at Uttoxeter, before dead-heating for first in a Listed bumper at Cheltenham in November last time out.
Fry said: “She has had her problems in the past, which have been well documented, and she has done well to make it back to the racetrack and to come back and get two wins, including in a Listed bumper at Cheltenham.
“You might be asking why we are trying to win a novice hurdle in March with a mare of her calibre but you have got to go when you can with her, given her back history.
“She has just needed a bit of time since her last run but she is ready to get started over hurdles now. She has been schooling well at home and hopefully she can transfer that to the racecourse. If she can put in a clear round of jumping she should go very close.”
Fry hopes a return to a sounder surface can bring about a change of fortune for Onefortheroadtom in the feature MansionBet 5 Days Til Cheltmas Handicap Chase.
The JP McManus-owned eight year old is without a victory since scoring at Fakenham almost a year ago and has been well held in two starts this season at Ascot and Newbury.
The trainer added: “I think Onefortheroadtom will definitely appreciate being back on better ground. It’s been almost a year since he won.
“Hopefully he can give us something to work on as he has not given us much this season. We hoped we would have won more races than we have with him but he is probably not the only horse you can say that about. He goes about his business at home in workmanlike fashion and gets on and does what he needs to.”
Meanwhile Tom George expects Forgot To Ask, who was last sighted finishing second over course and distance in December, to put in a bold show in the 3m 1f prize, provided conditions remain suitable.
The race has attracted nine runners and the Slad trainer said: “Forgot To Ask has been really consistent and he deserves to get his head in front soon. He has had a break over the winter to avoid the worst of the ground.
“He is in good form and he has some good solid form around Wincanton so we know that he handles the track and the trip is fine. We just hope the track doesn’t get a lot of rain.”
The most informative contest on the seven race card could potentially be the concluding Happy 41st Birthday Hazel Rofe Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race, in which Dorset handler Fry will be represented by recent Kempton Park fifth Muy Bien.
Fry added: “This is only Muy Bien’s second start and first on the turf having run in an all-weather bumper at Kempton. They went very steady at Kempton and sprinted up the straight but he was only beaten just over a length and a half. I was impressed with the speed he showed up the straight.
“Hopefully he will take another step forward and I think he showed more than enough first time to be competitive in a race of this nature.”