KIRKLEIGH is selected to take the Quantock Staghounds Mixed Open at Cothelstone tomorrow, writes Brian Armstrong.
The strong stayer, who bids to take his win tally into double figures, looked as good as ever when narrowly outpointed by Minella Stars in Buckfastleigh’s prestigious £1,000 Westcountry Champion Chase Mixed Open a fortnight ago.
Challengers include Coombe Hill, in the frame in each of his three outings this season, course winner Johnny’s Way, and Swansbrook, the winner of four of his ten races for Sue Popham, including one at last season’s corresponding meeting.
Former top chaser Michael Muck is interesting, but the Ruckers have a strong hand with Sagalyrique and Stonemaster and their chosen runner may be the one to challenge Kirkleigh.
Swansbrook is among the six entries for the opening Hunt race and will get the vote if facing the starter.
In his absence, Little Cornharn will be an automatic selection to win the Cup for the third year running, with Amber Love fancied for the forecast.
The Greenways’ Justabout is fancied to follow up his Tiverton win by taking the Confined, which has attracted 18 entries.
For The Staff, a winner at Chipley Park before disappointing at Black Forest Lodge, the Goulds’ former high class Rules performer Silverburn, a full-brother to Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman, but a non-finisher in two 2014 point-to-points to date, and Carrickmines are three for the short list.
Yufo was not disgraced when runner-up to Start Royal at Bratton Down in June and may be the one to chase up Justabout.
Ladfromhighworth will be the selection if turning out for the 27-entry Restricted.
Chipley Park runner-up Whenharrymetsally and Lower Machen winner Fourstar River can complete the placings.
Two large entry Maiden races complete the card. Woodford runner-up Crackacan, Wadebridge third The Copper Jug, Vine & Craven third Paddy B and the David Brace pair Alottamo and Nurse Brace are five to consider in the 2m 4f event, which has attracted 43 entries.
Dizzy Delights, Third Chance and Mike The Poacher are three suggestions from the 36 entries for the 3m contest.