By Gordon Brown
NENDRUM returns to the scene of last month’s romp in the most valuable race on the card at Musselburgh on Wednesday.
Sandy Thomson’s Greenlaw raider faces just four rivals in the In Play Betting at 188Bet Novices’ Handicap Hurdle as he bids to defy a hike in his handicap mark.
“He’s gone up stone for his win and he wasn’t beaten far into second when we ran him under a penalty at Catterick about a week later,” Thomson said. “That was a month ago and I’d say he is much better going right-handed and the two times he’s been to Musselburgh have produced an impressive win and an improved third the time before that when he wasn’t 100 per cent.
“We’ve had to be very patient with him in trying to get him settled as he is very headstrong. Jamie Hamilton gets on well with him and we’ve got our fingers crossed for another big run.”
Nendrum’s rivals include Lucinda Russell pair Ask The Tycoon, ridden by Derek Fox, and Tom Willmott-partnered Hey Listen.
The former drops back to two miles for his handicap debut while rising star Wilmott remains stuck on requiring one more winner to lose his 10lb claim – a sizable allowance that only applies when he rides horses trained by Russell.
Nicky Henderson’s Divine Spear bids to extend his unbeaten record over fences to three in the 188Bet mobile Novices’ Chase.
The Seven Barrows gelding, whose trainer has a 30 per cent strike-rate at the East Lothian venue, was sent off a short-priced favourite prior to his wins at Catterick and Ascot in November and December.