RACING: Jodami comes through battlefield exercise

RICHARD EDMONDSON NAP: Paddy Morrissey (Catterick 4.30) NB: Legally Delicious (Wolverhampton 3.10)
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With the meaningful trials for Cheltenham over, even relaxed racecourse gallops have earned unnatural attention in the build-up to the Festival.

Jodami's gentle manoeuvres at Doncaster yesterday came into full focus, while Danoli and Fortune And Fame, who worked at Leopardstown on Sunday, continued to fluctuate in the Champion Hurdle market.

Jodami, who won the 1993 Gold Cup, is reported to be in good shape in his effort to become the first horse to regain steeplechasing's Blue Riband.

Mark Dwyer, the 10-year-old's jockey, seemed to be able to tell this after a 12-furlong saunter around Town Moor which incorporated a few fences. The gelding was accompanied by two horses from his own yard and a pair from another, but questions as to their identities were met with a Stella Rimington response from trainer Peter Beaumont.

"I'm delighted with him and he jumped perfectly," Beaumont said. "The horses he worked with were plenty good enough to test him, though I'm not saying what they were. I'm convinced the horse is as good as he was when he won the Gold Cup."

From here on in the trainer's eyes will be scrutinising the weather forecasts. "He's won on heavy ground and it was heavy in parts at Leopardstown [where Jodami won the Hennessy Gold Cup last month], but he's certainly better on good ground and I'm hoping the ground dries out," Beaumont said. "It will depend on the conditions who we fear most, but at this level you have to regard all of them as dangers."

This, presumably, even includes One Man, who has been as accident-prone as Frank Spencer on his last two outings. Gordon Richards's grey is expected to continue the gallops fever when he steps out at Newcastle on Saturday.

Danoli came in for further support yesterday following warm words from his trainer, Tom Foley, and the fact that he did not splutter into a handkerchief when working last weekend. Ireland's leading Champion Hurdle hope is 4- 1 (from 5-1) with Ladbrokes. The Irish No.2, Fortune And Fame, was said to have come out of his Leopardstown jaunt in good fettle by his trainer, Dermot Weld, but the report has yet to reach punters. The gelding was pushed out to 6-1 (from 5-1) by Ladbrokes yesterday.

His actions will be followed, for the first time at Cheltenham, by Channel 4, though Brough Scott and the boys will have to wait some time if they are to add the Grand National to their portfolio. The BBC has renewed its contract with Aintree to the year 2000, maintaining a relationship begun in 1960.