Clever Cookie should have conditions in his favour as he bids to build on a fabulous 2015 when making his seasonal reappearance in the totepool EBF Stallions Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham.
Peter Niven’s mud-loving stayer had a pretty good year in 2014 and made even greater strides in the last campaign when very much looked on as an underdog for some of the long-staying prizes.
He struck first time out with a game display in the Group Three Ormonde Stakes at Chester in May before winning the Listed Stowe Family Law LLP Grand Cup for the second successive year at York at the end of the month.
Fast ground forced Niven to scrap plans to run the eight-year-old in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot but the going was considered enough for him to take on the cream of middle-distance horses in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes there in July when he was a respectable fifth over an inadequate mile and a half.
It was two miles for his last run of the year, in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup, back at Ascot in October, when he was only beaten a length by Flying Officer.
Granted soft ground, Clever Cookie should take top order when stamina is at a premium and this contest looks a good starting point.
Longshadow has performed with credit in better company so he should be up to defying joint-top weight in the 2016 Catterick Twelve Furlong Series Handicap at the North Yorkshire track.
Trainer Brian Ellison will leg up his 5lb claiming apprentice Callum Shepherd which should ensure the combination have the edge.
North Creek can continue his affinity for Lingfield by completing a hat-trick at the Surrey track in the Oyster Handicap.
Catterick: 2.00 Sadie Babes, 2.30 Longshadow, 3.00 Mighty Zip, 3.30 Rocco’s Delight, 4.05 Hartside, 4.35 Mrs Biggs, 5.05 Bahango.
Nottingham: 2.20 Finelcity, 2.50 A Momentofmadness, 3.20 Silvanus, 3.50 CLEVER COOKIE (NAP), 4.25 Hillbilly Boy, 4.55 Pickapocket, 5.25 Gawdawpalin.
Kempton: 5.45 Quebee, 6.15 Viscount Barfield, 6.45 Musical Taste, 7.15 Captain Peacock, 7.45 Prince Of Arran, 8.15 Secret Witness, 8.45 Foie Gras.
Leopardstown: 3.25 Look Closer, 3.55 Va Pensiero, 4.30 Zannda, 5.00 Runmhar, 5.30 Escape Paradise, 6.00 Deor, 6.30 Bridle Path.
Lingfield: 2.10 Togetherwecan, 2.40 Viva Verglas, 3.10 Across The Stars, 3.40 Southern Storm, 4.15 North Creek, 4.45 Clotilde, 5.15 Surewecan.
Double: Clever Cookie and Longshadow.