WREN WARBLER will take some catching at Market Rasen today, provided she adopts her normal forcing tactics.

Twice last season the ten-year-old mare ran the opposition ragged at Ludlow and Taunton with a brace of pulsating pillar-to-post victories.

In common with both of those tracks Market Rasen is a relatively sharp right-handed course, ideal for Wren Warbler's need to dominate her rivals from flag fall.

The selection will have to fight off the likes of Carrick Troop and Plaid Maid if she is to prevail in the Golden Lottery Handicap Chase, but the former flopped badly at Ayr, while Plaid Maid might struggle for peak fitness following a 306-day absence

In the opening Amateur Riders' Novices' Hurdle, Monty's Quest (12.20) looks a cut above the rest.

Les Eyre does not have many jumpers these days, although it was in the National Hunt arena that he first made his name.

Monty's Quest certainly appeared to be a useful jumps' recruit when third to Run For Paddy at Uttoxeter in October, the latter franking the form in emphatic fashion by collecting at Cheltenham in far better company on his next outing.

Clumsy June's River is beginning to become something of a liability over fences, having hit the deck on his last two starts.

At Ayr nine days ago he was backed to favouritism and was still moving with awesome ease when the fourth last caught him out.

Mary Reveley was in among the winners at Newcastle yesterday so June's River (1.25) is given one last chance to put in a clear round for the Calderprint Handicap Chase.

The £12,000 Ladbroke-sponsored Showcase Handicap Hurdle has attracted a useful Irish raider, Barba Papa (2.00).

He was the subject of massive market support to lift a big race at Cheltenham but could only finish third, having cruised up to the leaders at the second last flight.

In this slightly weaker grade Barba Papa's connections have a great opportunity to claw back the cash they lost at Prestbury Park.

Towcester is regarded as a pretty stiff track, and the fences there also tend to be unforgiving.

These are factors with the potential to play into the hands of Sir Bob (1.50) for the feature contest on the card, the Variohm Components Novices' Chase.

Kim Bailey's charge has an abundance of stamina as well as plenty of lift off in his back legs in order to power over the sternest of obstacles.

Patrick Haslam can supplement an already cracking record on the sand at Wolverhampton courtesy of Rainbow River (3.25), a promising third to the useful Moyne Pleasure at Southwell last time.

l Graham Bradley's burgeoning career as an equine talent scout gained further credence as Dark'N Sharp landed a gamble at Newcastle yesterday.

The former leading jockey is now running the Berkshire Bloodstock Agency, which has already spotted, among others, the subsequent Ebor winner Vicious Circle.

Bradley's latest find, Dark'N Sharp, a former Flat racer in Germany, was clearly expected to oblige on his jumping debut.

Quoted at 33-1 in the Racing Post, he was available at around 7-2 on the course, although there was 5-1 and 6-1 in the odd place.

But backed down to 7-4, he got home by a short head in a battling finish to the Bet Tax Free With betsmart.co.uk Maiden Hurdle.

It appeared that Dark'N Sharp, trained by Richard Phillips, had been pipped on the line by the late lunge of Jakes Progress.

But it was soon announced that Dark'N Sharp, the subject of more than £10,000 in major bets alone, had prevailed.

The victory came on the day that Bradley's autobiography The Wayward Lad hit the bookstalls.

''It's a bit of a fluke that I've had a winner on the day the book comes out,'' he said.

''I've picked up a few horses in Germany. He's a nice bay with some decent form to his credit.

''But he was a miler on the Flat and there was a bit of worry whether he would last home.''

Lenny Lungo's disappointment at Jakes Progress' defeat was soon forgotten as Mr Hornblower landed the EBF Novices' Hurdle.

He shrugged off greenness to outpoint Colourful Life by two and a half lengths.

The 11-10 favourite Captain Myrme, ridden by reigning champion jockey Tony McCoy, led for a time but ran too freely and was pulled up after dropping away.

Lungo and Dobbin went on to clinch a double when Sioux Raider obliged at 11-8 in the bumper.

Mary Reveley was also in double form, courtesy of Torso and Ledgendry Line.