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Lavelle and Mulholland tune up for autumn

Cross-card doubles for Emma Lavelle and Neil Mulholland assured supporters that they have their strings tuned up for the autumn. Whilst the quality of cards during most of the summer goes largely unremarked, the dews of September generally bring out horses from the bigger yards with an eye to mid-winter prizes.

Hang In There, now a winner of 4 hurdles and six chases, got the ball rolling at Stratford in the 2m3f handicap chase. For a big horse, he's well balanced and Stratford's sharp circuit is clearly to his liking, as he's notched 2 hurdle successes here too. Good ground appears the key. He's the sort of horse many yards would fill the entire yard with.

The health of Lavelle's string is not in doubt after Rebel Intentions followed up at the outset of the evening at Fontwell in a conditionals race under Dylan Whelan, and two others filled the minor placings.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, the master of Conkwell Grange was also keeping his end up, with a winner at each Jumps fixture too. Rider Harry Reed had won plaudits for his well-judged recovery when getting up by a neck on Stepney Causeway at Newton Abbot earlier in the week, after losing 25l at the start. He was handy with the leader throughout on outsider Tally's Son in the first division of a handicap hurdle, to win rather cosily, much, one thinks, to the surprise of all connections.

Mulholland sent another runner on the 200 mile round trip from Bath to see out the day in the concluding 2m 5f handicap hurdle, and his confidence was rewarded when Sam Twiston-Davies was able to reel in the likely winner Ile de Jersey and win by 1/12l.

Meantime, followers of pointing will have remarked on the unorthodox route taken by Fergal O'Brien with multiple Points winner Cheltenam de Vaige. Formerly with Hannah Lewis, owners Matt and Sally Burford are trying their hand under Rules with a chaser still a novice over hurdles. And so it was that Stratford's tight turns mapped out a winning hurdle debut to complement his 5 Rules chase winners in a moderate Class 4 novice event on Thursday. Expect to see Cheltenam de Vaige back between the flags come the winter.

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