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Aidan MacDonald’s condition improves

Conditional jockey Aidan MacDonald is reported to be making positive progress after being taken ill a fortnight after a crashing fall at Hexham last month.

MacDonald was riding the Micky Hammond-trained Russian Royale in the Welcome To Hexham 2021 Conditional Jockeys’ Mares’ Handicap Hurdle on March 18 when falling three flights from home.

While he went to hospital on the day and was later discharged, he was readmitted after being taken ill on Wednesday.

MacDonald was said to be in a critical condition and receiving treatment for a suspected carotid artery dissection on Thursday, but Hammond issued a more upbeat bulletin on Friday.

The trainer tweeted: “Update on Aidan MacDonald – the bleed has now been cleared. He is speaking in sentences and can feel and move his fingers. A long road ahead but what a warrior, we still ask for privacy for his family at this difficult time. But what positive news.”

Cornerstone Lad booked for Fighting Fifth repeat, then chasing beckons

Micky Hammond’s Cornerstone Lad will attempt to retain his Fighting Fifth Hurdle crown before embarking on a chasing career.

The six-year-old returned to winning ways on the Flat at Redcar on Tuesday, claiming a one-mile-six-furlong handicap by a neck from Jackamundo.

Redcar was also the scene of the gelding’s seasonal reappearance in October, when he finished fourth in another handicap on the level over the same distance.

“We did it last year,” Hammond said of the decision to run the Grade One-winner on the Flat in the early part of the season.

“He won on the Flat at Catterick before he won at Wetherby and then went on to the Fighting Fifth. That shows he’s well capable of winning on the Flat, but obviously he’s a far better jumper than a Flat horse.

“That was our thinking behind it really, but it was great that he got his head back in front.”

Hammond is now aiming for a repeat of last season’s Fighting Fifth success on November 28 before he begins to campaign his stable star over fences.

“He’s going to the Fighting Fifth, he’ll be going back to Newcastle for that,” he said.

“I think the long-term plan would be to go steeplechasing, he’s been schooling over fences as well as hurdles and I think that’s probably the route he’ll go down, that will happen after Newcastle.”

The Middleham trainer does not have a specific starting point in mind for the bay’s switch to fences, preferring to see how he schools after his recent exertions and go from there.

“We’ve not got any plans really,” he said.

“We’ll just see how he comes out of the Redcar race and then just build up from there.”

Hammond planning second Flat spin for Cornerstone Lad

Cornerstone Lad is set to have a second warm-up run on the Flat before connections decide whether to bid for back-to-back victories in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle or go straight over fences.

Trainer Micky Hammond was happy with the six-year-old’s effort at Redcar when he was fourth in a mile-and-three-quarters handicap on his first start since he was pulled up in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

A wind operation during the summer appears to have helped Cornerstone Lad and the Hammond team can now look forward to the winter.

“He’s doing fine. I was pleased with his run. He had a wind op in the mid to late summer,” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“I think he’ll have one more run before he goes back jumping.

“He’s sure to have an entry in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and there’s a good chance he will go novice chasing this season.

“I’ve yet to properly discuss it with Mrs Lofthouse, his owner, but I think there’s every chance he’ll be doing that this time around. We’re keeping our options open.

“He hasn’t done any schooling over fences this time around. He did school over fences last year. He’s been up the Middleham all-weather track jumping six French-style Southwell hurdles on a couple of occasions.

“That’s the only jumping he’s done since he’s been back in.

“I think he’ll run on the Flat towards the end of this month, providing there is sufficient cut in the ground, then we’ll decide if we go for the Fighting Fifth or go straight over fences, or win the Fighting Fifth again and stay over hurdles.

“It’s a nice problem to have.”

Stat of the Day, 10th March 2020

Monday's pick was...

5.40 Wolverhampton : Nezar @ 7/1 BOG 9th at 11/1 (Took keen hold, prominent, lost place over 1f out) : got that one very wrong.

Tuesday's pick runs in the...

3.15 Sedgefield :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Roxyfet @ 9/2 BOG

...in a 10-runner, Class 5, Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m½f on soft ground worth £2,989 to the winner... 

Why?...

Very number heavy today, so I'll break it down in to four sections, starting with...

...the horse, a 10 yr old gelding showing no signs of slowing down. A winner of 3 of his last four starts, having finished 221P11 in his last six (all here over C&D) and now seeks a hat-trick to add to an already decent 12 wins and 13 places from 71 that includes of note today...

  • 11 w, 12pl from 64 going left handed
  • 12+11/57 without headgear
  • 9+10/37 here at Sedgefield
  • 9+8/33 over 2m0.5f-2m1f
  • 9+8/32 at Class 5 for less than £3,500
  • 9+7/30 at 6/1 or shorter
  • 7+5/24 in Feb/March
  • 6+7/24 over fences at C&D
  • 6+8/29 on soft ground
  • and 3 wins from 4 under today's jockey...

...Emma Chaston-Smith, whose career record to date stands at 14 wins from 98 (+14.3% SR) for 18pts (+18.4% ROI), and those include of relevance here...

  • 13/82 (15.9%) for 26.1pts (+31.9%) since the start of 2018
  • 11/51 (21.6%) for 42.1pts (+82.5%) for trainer Micky Hammond (more on him very shortly)
  • 5/18 (27.8%) for 21.2pts (+117.6%) over fences
  • and 4/20 (20%) for 11.2pts (+56%) here at Sedgefield.

Now back to trainer Micky Hammond, because his handicap chasers are 16 from 60 (26.7% SR) for 15.2pts (+25.4% ROI) when sent off at 7/1 or shorter here at Sedgefield since the start of 2015, all males and with the following results under today's conditions...

  • 15/50 (30%) for 22.6pts (+45.2%) with those rested for 6-45 days
  • 14/52 (26.9%) for 17pts (+32.7%) with 7-10 yr olds
  • 9/36 (25%) for 8.68pts (+24.1%) on soft or worse ground
  • 8/20 (40%) for 21.5pts (+107.5%) in Feb/March
  • 8/30 (26.7%) for 14.1pts (+47%) in races worth less than £4,000
  • 7/26 (26.9%) for 14.6pts (+56.1%) at Class 5
  • 5/21 (23.8%) for 6.88pts (+32.7%) over this 2m0.5f C&D
  • and 3/10 (30%) for 2.03pts (+20.3%) with LTO winners

And then, it makes sense (to me at least) with round off with a look at the trainer/jockey combination, as Micky & Emma are 11/46 (23.9% SR) for 47.1pts (+102.4% ROI) when teaming up in handicaps, from which the following baker's dozen of profitable angles are all at play...

  • 10/41 (24.4%) for 48.8pts (+119.1%) with male runners
  • 10/39 (25.6%) for 50.8pts (+130.3%) in Feb/March
  • 8/31 (25.8%) for 46.2pts (+149.1%) on soft or worse ground
  • 8/28 (28.6%) for 45.7pts (+163.1%) in 8-12 runner contests
  • 8/26 (30.8%) for 44.8pts (+172.5%) with 8-10 yr olds
  • 8/25 (32%) for 46.7pts (+186.8%) at Class 5
  • 6/14 (42.9%) for 29.6pts (+211.4%) at odds of 4/1 to 7/1
  • 5/20 (25%) for 28.4pts (+142%) in races worth less than £4k
  • 5/20 (25%) for 13.6pts (+68%) when Emma claims 7lbs
  • 5/14 (35.7%) for 26.9pts (+192.2%) with horses rested for less than three weeks
  • 4/16 (25%) for 15.2pts (+94.9%) here at Sedgefield
  • 4/9 (44.4%) for 16.5pts (+183%) over 2m0.5f-2m1f
  • and 3/10 (30%) for 14.12pts (+141.2%) over fences

Congratulations if you've made it all the way through those numbers, I realise that not everyone is as interested as I am in them, but hopefully your patience will be rewarded...

...if you decide to place...a 1pt win bet on Roxyfet @ 9/2 BOG as was available from Betfair, BetVictor, Hills, Unibet & Paddy Power at 8.05am Tuesday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.15 Sedgefield

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!