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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Bowler in old guard's Betfair teamHeadlines
Swing Bowler

David Johnson admits the unbeaten Swing Bowler faces by far the most difficult test of her career in Saturday's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

The outstandingly bred Galileo mare is close to the owner's heart as her dam is Lady Cricket, a top-class hurdler and chaser in his famous blue and green colours.

Now six and campaigned sparingly and cautiously by trainer David Pipe, Swing Bowler took novice events last season at Ludlow and Newton Abbot and only reappeared on New Year's Day at Musselburgh, winning a valuable handicap hurdle in impressive style.

Johnson said: "She has done nothing but surprise us, really, as she has never been exciting in her work at home. However, not many mares win five times from five races and her most recent run in Scotland was her best."

It will be like old times at the weekend, with Johnson's old ally Timmy Murphy sweating down for a light weight in a big handicap for the team.

"Timmy will ride her," the owner confirmed. "It's a huge step up in a race that would not look out of place at Cheltenham. I think she has it all to do, to be honest, but 10st 1lb is a nice weight and the ground should not be a concern."

Evan Williams has warned leading contender Court Minstrel is far from certain to take his chance.

The six-year-old ran out an impressive winner on his debut over obstacles at Cheltenham in October and emerged with huge credit when third behind top novice Dodging Bullets at the same track a month later, having suffered trouble in running.

He was slightly disappointing when only fourth in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown last time and having struggled to cope in the mud on that occasion, Williams insists his charge will only line up this weekend if conditions are right.

He said: "We are keeping an eye on it, but he definitely won't run if the ground is very soft. It will have to dry out considerably. He's in grand form at home and I would prefer to run him if I can because the prize-money is so good, but the one thing we learned at Sandown is that he can't handle very soft ground."

30 January 2015

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Catterick abandoned
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29 January 2015

Good news for Burke after X-rays
Bayan handed French mission
Exciting Eagle ready for action
Ellison on Red alert
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Ferof takes Ascot acid test
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Hourigan duo to duck National Trial
Salsify back in Foxhunter frame
Wintry Catterick calls inspection
Chepstow on weather watch
Musselburgh bids to beat weather
Legend in line for Kempton repeat
Henderson at Peace for Triumph
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Henderson happy with Sprinter
Unioniste set for Newbury outing
Bolger left in awe of super Sceaux
Sam set for Gold run
Denman date for Obeaux

28 January 2015

Charities get O'Sullevan boost
Betway boosts sponsorship portfolio
Estrella waits on record bid
Spring not on Focus agenda
Warne on comeback trail
Warne on comeback trail
Mann planning Bleu National prep
Henderson dealt Triolo blow
Tornado blows hot at Taunton
Mann duo head to Musselburgh
Ginge given Scilly date
Cue Card goes back to basics
Eagle ready for hurdling bow
Shark angling for Punchestown prize
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Ruby handed World ticket

27 January 2015

No worries at Wetherby
Fry issue Puzzle warning
Grimthorpe goal for Milan
Ellison duo primed for Supreme test
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Master retains Festival options
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Dettori possible for National role
Uttoxeter bid appeals for Murphy
Ryanair defence likely for Dynaste
Palace stars in Towton fifteen
Gilgamboa set for longer trip
Jezki 'fine' after Hurricane defeat
Sire satisfies in schooling session
Sceaux leaves Mullins purring
Faugheen fancied for Walsh mount

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