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November 20th, 2015 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

I make no secret of the fact that the 2015 Flat Season was not one of my best, even though things started well last January when Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs headed my candidates for the Premier List of the Dark Horses.

To be perfectly honest I never found my stride this summer, but I sensed that things were on the turn for the better three weeks ago and I feel that I have now picked up the rhythm of the jumps season.

It can do wonders for your confidence if you get on the right side of a progressive horse, and that has been the case with Doctor Phoenix, who landed a decent graduation race at Haydock this afternoon. A qualifier from the Dark Horses Jumps Guide, he had won the time before in very good style at Lingfield but this looked tricky up against Solar Impulse, rated 11lb better on official figures, and Kings Lad, rated 7lb superior.

A combination of the stable confidence behind the winner and the negative vibes for Solar Impulse, who was thought to need the race, gave rise to a sustained gamble on Doctor Phoenix from being the 7/2 outsider of three the night before to a starting price of 10/11. Following a very sound round of jumping he won this by two lengths and I expect his mark to rise from the current 132 to the low to mid 140s.

Trainer David Dennis thinks the world of this seven-year-old and I confidently expect him to step up another grade, possibly proving good enough to tackle one of the top 2m chases in the spring.

On a day where there was much to learn, Winner Massagot landed the closing handicap hurdle at Ascot with loads in hand. Trainer Alan King had let it be known in his column and pre-season stable reports that he thought a mark of 123 underestimated the four-year-old and the only surprise was his market weakness beforehand, starting at a very generous 7/1. He can win again from a higher mark.

There was much to like about the way Gary Moore’s expensive Irish purchase Krugermac won the opening maiden hurdle at Ascot. The four-year-old has loads of scope and can go on to better things.

You can hear my thoughts for Saturday’s racing by ringing my line at 11.30 in the morning, with news on Sunday morning of a possible touch taking place at a low-profile meeting.

I will be working next week on the Online Preview for Hennessy day. Please refer to the shop if you wish to make an order.

Have a great weekend and bye for now.

Bye for now