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Last Updated: 01/02/13 2:23pm
Carruthers: Should love the ground
Carruthers reverts to the job he does best after a fling over hurdles last weekend when he lines-up for the William Hill West Wales National Handicap Chase at Ffos Las on Saturday.
The 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup hero is reported to have taken little out of himself when well-beaten in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham; he is now back over fences on a course where he had won his previous race in good style on Boxing Day.
"He had a really nice time at Cheltenham. I don't think he tried very hard. He came back very full of himself," said trainer Mark Bradstock's wife Sara.
"The great thing about Ffos Las is that they do run when it's so wet and that's ground he loves. The reason we ran him in the Cleeve Hurdle last week was because we thought that heavy ground might slow them down, but it didn't.
"I think this race looks perfectly winnable. Hopefully they won't go a million miles an hour. The front-runners in the field are not runaways, they are just horses that make the running. Nico (de Boinville) rode him well last time and keeps the ride. He came down to school him this morning and the horse is flying."
Connections of Junior are hoping the David Pipe-trained top weight will be able to cope with the testing conditions.
"It looks like the ground is going to be a bit deep for him, but we've been trying to find the best race for him. It was either this or the National Trial at Haydock," said Nick Bradley, bloodstock manager to Middleham Park Racing.
"He's in good form. We would like to find a race with as small a field as possible. There are 12 in there which is not ideal but half of the field are out of the handicap, so it looks the race to go for."
Donald McCain hopes Red Rocco can cope with taking on stronger company on the back of winning two novice events at Newcastle and Kelso.
"He'll like the ground and the trip. It's obviously a step up in grade but he's got a nice racing weight, so we'll see how we go," said the Cholmondeley trainer.
Our Island ran a creditable race in the Welsh National despite being out of the handicap when fifth to Monbeg Dude and is 7lb wrong this time. However, his trainer Tim Vaughan is expecting another decent run from the eight-year-old: "He will love the track, love the trip and will find the ground no problem at all. What is frustrating is that he is out of the handicap. It's not ideal, but it's so difficult with these staying chasers getting all the conditions in their favour and getting them in the right grade.
"We'll take our chance, he seems happy and healthy so it's fingers crossed. He has come out of the Chepstow race well. I thought he ran really admirably in the Welsh National and we're hoping he can perform tomorrow," said the Vale of Glamorgan handler.