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  News On-song Jerry McGrath hits Lingfield treble

On-song Jerry McGrath hits Lingfield treble

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Jerry McGrath completed the second treble of his riding career after steering Landin to victory in the feature event at Lingfield.

Based at Nicky Henderson's powerhouse stables, McGrath is hoping to come in for some good rides at the Cheltenham Festival and did his prospects no harm in Surrey as jumps racing took place for the first time in a week following the recent cold snap.

McGrath told At The Races: "It's my second treble and w e'll enjoy it. It's the right time of the season and the horses are hitting form at the right time of year."

The winning-most trainer in Festival history, Henderson will unleash another formidable team at Prestbury Park next week, including defending Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D'Air, Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite Altior and leading Gold Cup hope Might Bite.

McGrath admitted there are a few nerves at Seven Barrows, adding: " A week is a long time, especially when they're doing the last bits of work and schooling. You wake up every morning hoping they're all in one piece and there's no niggles.

"Horses are unpredictable and a small injury now could cost them two or three weeks and they won't make Cheltenham."

McGrath's first winner of the afternoon came aboard the Henderson-trained Kupatana, who justified 8-15 favouritism in the maiden hurdle, despite completing a full circuit of the track before the race got under way.

The jockey had to take evasive action to stop her to a walk and directed her towards the running rail. B ut she avoided accident and after being passed fit to race by the on-course veterinary team, she displayed plenty of heart to see off Pull Together by three lengths.

"It wasn't the ideal ride after a week on the sofa, that's for sure. I'm definitely having a good blow," said the winning rider.

"She does make life hard for herself, but to be fair to her, a lot of horses would have caved in between the second-last and the last and she's found more again.

"She came from Ireland with a big reputation and she's just learning on the job."

Henderson's Maestro Royal (2-5 favourite) barely came out of second gear to land the two-mile novice chase, with Georgieshore a distant second after the only other runner Justanother Muddle crashed out at the ninth fence.

McGrath completed a hat-trick aboard the Seamus Mullins-trained Landin (11-4 favourite) in the £20,000 handicap hurdle.

Last month's Southwell scorer was not hard pressed to score by four lengths from market rival Remiluc.

Dazibao (10-1) made a belated winning debut for trainer George Baker and jockey Andrew Tinkler in the opening bumper.

Baker said: " We've loved this horse. I bought him about 18 months ago and the plan was to run him three weeks later. It's been about 63 weeks later!

"He had a few niggles after we bought him and, perversely, that can so often be the best thing for a horse. In his case, I think it was. He was ready to run back then, but he has just improved and improved.

"He reminds me a lot of a horse I had for Sir Alex (Ferguson) called I'm Fraam Govan. He won a bumper and ended up being a lovely horse on the Flat and that could be the route with this one.

"We'll probably have a look at Liverpool (Aintree), because he is a classy horse, for sure.

"After Liverpool if he stays fantastic and if he doesn't, he can go for mile-and-a-half races on the Flat."