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Love Envoi takes next step up the ladder at Sandown

Love Envoi steps up in class as she bids to take her perfect record to five in the Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown on Thursday.

Harry Fry’s six-year-old won a bumper when trained in Ireland and has since recorded three victories this winter since joining the Dorset trainer.

“She seems good, we were pleased to see the rain over the weekend and an unsettled forecast. She thrives in soft conditions which we look like getting,” said Fry ahead of the Grade Two test.

“Obviously, we dropped in trip to two miles at Lingfield and she won well. We’re stepping back back up in trip, having won over further already this season.

“She’s got a penalty for winning a class two at Lingfield, but she’s done everything right so far. This is a step up in grade again and we’ll see how she copes.”

Love Envoi has been entered in the Parnell Properties Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham – but Fry is not taking anything for granted.

He added: “We’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’ll focus on Sandown first and get Thursday out of the way. Win, lose or draw, we’ll make plans from there.”

Speech Bubble is another who relishes testing conditions and trainer Noel Williams is looking forward to seeing her take her chance.

The seven-year-old got off the mark over hurdles at the second attempt with a cosy success at Newbury last month, after three runs in bumpers.

“It looks a good little race, but she’s certainly earned the right to have a crack at it,” said Williams.

“It was a good performance at Newbury the last day. She won a bit cosily and I think she’ll run very well. She’s got the course form there – she finished second in a Listed bumper.

“She goes on soft ground, the more rain the merrier. She’s a bit of a bog trotter really. She should stay well. She’s definitely got a chance in it.

“It’s going to be a test of stamina and she looks the sort of horse that’s made for a test of stamina. I’m looking forward to running her.”

Anthony Honeyball has two chances in Coquelicot and Swincombe Fleat, with the seven-strong field completed by the Lucinda Russell-trained Haute Estime, Alan King’s Nina The Terrier and La Renommee from Dr Richard Newland’s stable.

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