What a fabulous few days of weather we have been having and the sport has been superb, I’ve been enjoying the Indian Premier League cricket, Premier League Darts, World Matchplay Golf and of course the racing. The week culminates with the two-day Lincoln meeting from Doncaster and the fabulous Dubai World Cup night from Meydan. The final Lincoln entries saw Auxerre safely amongst the 22 entries and I like the look of Eirene in the Cammidge Trophy the first at Doncaster on Saturday. But that’s tomorrow and I want to concentrate on Friday’s action, firstly over jumps and two neat cards one at Fontwell not far from where I’m based and one at Wetherby.
The ground is good at Fontwell courtesy of this beautiful drying weather. I’m a huge fan of conditional rider Rex Dingle who has flourished from obscurity this season to ride 29 winners and his best rate of success has come when he teams up with either Jeremy Scott or Antony Honeyball. The strike rate with the latter is 9 winners from 39 rides then add 8 seconds and 8 thirds, quite impressive. The pair team up with top weight, Soulsaver in the first at Fontwell. A solid second at Wincanton last time gives indication the horse is coming to a level that he can be a big challenger under these terms. I like that connections are dropping him back down in distance and this is Rex Dingle’s only ride of the day
Another top conditional is the subject of interest in the second race which sees Jonjo O’Neill jnr aboard Newtown Lad for in form trainer Michael Scudamore. The 7 pound claim is going to be crucial as it drops the top weight down below the 12 stone mark. This is a horse who had form letters rather than figures blighting the CV, but something clicked last time out and the horse went on to win. That was only eight days ago and you sense connections want to make the most of this character, which can be quirky. He lost a couple of shoes going round Chepstow and hopefully he is none the worse for that. He has ability and hopefully he can make all.
Charles Byrnes runners are always given the utmost respect wherever they go and he saddles Thosedaysaregone in Wetherby’s 4.30. This fella has talent, he won comfortably at this course back in January only to be made as short as 4-1 for the Grade 3 Holloways Hurdle at Ascot a week later. He ran into fourth on good to soft ground. He backed that up a month later when fifth at Carlisle and last time out over the bigger obstacles beat a fancy for the Grand National at Aintree in Mall Dini. He is back over hurdles today and you sense he has to be given a second glance.
Falcon Sun is seeking compensation in Wetherby’s 3.25, he was on a hat-trick when going well and falling three out in a very good race at Newbury. Crooks Peak won and Champagne City was second so you can judge the calibre of the opposition in relation to today’s. Dan Skelton’s strike rate remains phenomenal consider the amount of runners he has and this could be yet another success for the juggernaut.
One of my favourite trainers across both codes is John Quinn, following his horses has been very lucrative for me over the years, or perhaps I’ve just been lucky stumbling across them at the right time. Character Building, Countrywide Flame and Cockney Sparrow are to name just three, I know they are all national hunt names so fingers crossed Spirit Of Zebedee in Lingfield’s 2.30 can work the oracle on the flat. The horse has gone up considerably in the ratings recently due to the great form it has been in, yet if you go back through his career it is still not at his highest rating. The horse seems to regaining his confidence and his liking of Lingfield is there for all to see, fingers tightly crossed it continues.