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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Ground key to Lodge futureHeadlines
Highland Lodge

Emma Lavelle believes mudlover Highland Lodge could be the ideal type for races such as the Coral Welsh National following his all-the-way win at Cheltenham.

Lavelle fells the young stayer, third behind Harry Topper at Newbury on his previous start, was seen in his true colours when making all to slam Our Father by 22 lengths over three miles one and a half furlongs on testing ground.

"He wants soft ground, it wasn't soft enough for him at Newbury and that's why he was made out to be a bit of a handicapper after that," said the Andover handler.

"He needs proper soft ground and in reality he is going to be the sort of horse for a Welsh National one day. He's too young to be thinking about that yet, but maybe next year.

"He won't run on ground anything better than soft, he needs soft ground as he just grinds it out and he's a smashing jumper."

Lavelle, who celebrated her first four-timer on Saturday with winners at three tracks, is to give her Lingfield scorer Court In Motion a well-deserved break.

He is another smart novice in her care, as he displayed with a pillar-to-post victory over three miles by a length and three-quarters from Houblon Des Obeaux.

The trainer went on: "I get the impression that on very soft ground he's almost better over two and a half miles or two-mile-five. On good ground he needs the three miles, so it's very difficult to say.

"He is crying out for three miles when the ground is quicker, but he wouldn't get home over much more than three miles. In the meantime I'd say he'll be having a bit of a holiday."

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