CEILIDH HOUSE is the one to be with in the feature race at Lingfield, the Listed Betfred Quebec Stakes.
Ralph Beckett’s filly was thought enough of last year to run in Snow Fairy’s Oaks, and returned this term with a highly creditable third behind subsequent Group One winner Timepiece at Warwick in June.
The daughter of Selkirk only had two more starts in the turf season, against the colts in the Select Stakes at Goodwood in September and when running another big race in her bid to win a Listed event at Doncaster’s Leger meeting for the second year in succession. She looked the likely winner at one stage, a comment which, to a lesser degree, also applies to her run at Kempton last month, her first on Polytrack. Towards the rear through the early stages, she had a fair bit of ground to make up on Barbican but travelled smoothly into contention before finding the winner too strong.
With her ability to handle this surface now assured, she looks a tasty tip, especially as the drop back in trip should work in her favour.
Brian Ellison’s Abergavenny ran a superb race for one so inexperienced in last month’s Greatwood Hurdle and has to be rated a danger to all in a cracking renewal of The Ladbroke at Ascot.
A fair Flat performer, the four-year-old won minor novice hurdles at Hereford, Wetherby and Sedgefield in the spring to remain unbeaten in that sphere as he headed to Cheltenham in November.
His starting price of 28-1 indicated the majority expected such a fiercely competitive event would be a bridge too far, but Ellison knows the time of day and his charge ran his heart out to finish a highly creditable third. The form was given a major shot in the arm when the winner, Brampour, went on to run an excellent third in last week’s International Hurdle. However, Abergavenny is significantly better off at the weights than the last time they met for a three-length beating and must have sound claims of turning the tables.
Big Buck’s clearly has the Lough Derg Long Walk Hurdle (2.30) at his mercy, but Restless Harry is a sporting each-way selection. Robin Dickin’s stable star was a reasonable distance behind the mighty Paul Nicholls-trained staying king at Cheltenham in March, and won with authority on his return at Wetherby in October.
Two outings over fences since then have not really seen him at his best, but he is race-fit and might be the value call for the place money.