Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Take the Stand Has Appeal; Bowen's Star Is Due for a Clear Round

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Take the Stand Has Appeal; Bowen's Star Is Due for a Clear Round

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

BETTER get the prayer mats out if you want to see some cracking jumping action at Haydock tomorrow.

Yesterday's deluge has left the Merseyside track at the mercy of an inspection this morning, but if the weather relents then Take The Stand is worth noting in the Peter Marsh Chase.

This [pounds sterling]75,000 contest has a rich tradition and, with a clutch of confirmed frontrunners on view, only the soundest stayers need apply.

First Gold falls into the latter category and, despite uninspiring recent form figures, it would come as no surprise to see Francois Doumen's veteran go well at a big price now the handicapper has loosened his grip.

Chives and Bindaree also possess the requisite stamina. Both line up in good heart after fine efforts in the Welsh National at Chepstow, while Truckers Tavern won this race in 2003 and returned from the doldrums with a game success at Wetherby over Christmas.

The unexposed Lord Transcend fell soon after halfway in that Wetherby race and his jumping will come under pressure again over these unforgiving fences.

Therealbandit is another with questions to answer after his tame effort in the King George, so Take The Stand looks the value option to make amends for a couple of unlucky efforts this season.

Under the skilful care of Peter Bowen, this gelding has gradually developed into a high-class handicap chaser. A hugely impressive success in the Summer National at Uttoxeter in July has been the peak of his career thus far, but Bowen feels that at least one big winter prize would have come his way granted better fortune.

Is he right to take that view? Well, Take The Stand was travelling strongly when he slipped five out in the Tommy Whittle Chase won by Chives here early in December, while he clearly had plenty of running left in him when he became unsighted and hit the deck at the fourth last in the Welsh National.

Trying to assess where horses might have finished when they depart so far out can be a dangerous business, but the impression left on both occasions was that Take The Stand would have played a significant part. …

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