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Sussex National Preview

How a track is allowed to name a race a National while including the county name at the same time is beyond me, but NH enthusiasts of the south will be heading to Plumpton to see this time-honoured race. Time to welcome another new writer to the blog - aspiring local sports journalist Harriet Fuller. You can read more of her work on her blog and follow her on Twitter @HattieLFuller

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Sussex National

With waterlogged courses having caused a few meetings to be abandoned, tonight we thank Plumpton for their new drainage system, which has saved the day. Tomorrow is of course the Sussex National and one of the course’s busiest days, and the doom and gloom of the weather is not enough to put many keen racing fans off.

The Sussex National will need guts, courage and pure determination to be cliché, and a horse that likes heavy ground may be of help to get round the 3m 5f course. The term ‘heavy’ is a compliment for the ground, the bottom bend is muddy on a good day and having had its own swimming pool recently this will be the stickiest spot.

Last year saw locally trained Well Refreshed take the race, a family affair with Gary Moore as trainer and Joshua Moore on board. These two enter stable companion Reblis this year and have every chance. A previous course winner, the 9-year old gelding ran well under Moore back in December, and coped with the soft ground. Moore has a good record at Plumpton, yielding 34 wins from 183 runs and knows what it takes to win here.

However the winner could also come from another local trainer, Miss Sheena West, her gelding Leg Iron has proved he can handle the distance before and Marc Goldstein knows this track inside out having appeared here 128 times. Leg Iron has proved to be a hit and miss horse, and if putting his best foot forward can mount a strong challenge, but there are questions whether he would be able to handle the heavy ground. With all aspects taken into account, the gelding could see himself just plainly outclassed here.

A P McCoy seems to like racing at Plumpton and achieved his 3000th winner here back in 2009, this does however seem a long time ago having reached his 4000th winner just recently. He rides the Jonjo O’Neill trained Smoking Aces, but I just cannot see him coming out on top here. The 10-year old can handle the ground but gut instincts veer me away from him and to look elsewhere.

It would be wrong not to mention Ballybough Gorta, his form in 2012 was his best and if getting anywhere near that has strong claims. However, his bets form has been on better ground, and he is not running at the top of his form coming into this race, his entry looks to be more of hope than expectation and there are doubts across a few aspects, his weight and the ground are the main sticking points and he will have to be at his absolute best to get into the frame here.

Top weight Monkerty Tunkerty may win the naming stakes, but there is nothing to suggest he can rain on anyone’s parade here. The 11-year old gelding has not shown too much recently to attract attention, and looks to be a spectator again here. The same can be said of Mortimers Cross and According To Them, the latter has an alarming record of being pulled up 5 times in his short 15 race career, and it would be profitable to bet on him being pulled up on this testing ground.

Mortimers Cross enters the race as a 13-year old, the oldest entry, and the ground may wear away at him and come to show in the closing stages, his form has not been particularly breathtaking and seems to be at the other end of the scale, and quite frankly there is not many positives to analyse.

It is however, Adrenalin Flight under Andrew Thornton who catches the eye. The gelding goes off at a lower weight than his other main rivals, and has been in consistent form recently. Perhaps the most positive thing to pick out is his performance on his last outing. A close second over 3m 4f on heavy ground has him dismiss any worries on any ground or distance issues. Under the very capable hands of Thornton there is nothing to prevent me from putting my money on Mullin’s gelding. For me Reblis will run him close, and although Ballybough Gorta has been fancied in the betting, for me the ground is not to his liking and he will not be able to mount a sustainable challenge.

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