Entries & Recent Form

Leoncavallo (pictured above) runs at Stratford on Tuesday

Although there were only a couple of racecourse runners last week, there was still plenty to keep us occupied.  The horses continue to come back in from their summer holidays, whilst we are always on the lookout for new talent.  With racing overseas and more sales taking place there are an increasing number of opportunities to do just that.

Golden Jeffrey was our only runner on the flat last week, contesting the 1m6f handicap at Sandown.  Although he didn’t trouble the judge, he wasn’t beaten all that far.  Whilst he has won on a variety of ground, he does love to hear his hooves rattle so we will find another opportunity for him shortly on the level or over timber.

Yaa Salaam was our sole runner over hurdles last week and he proved disappointing in the 2m4½f handicap hurdle at Southwell on Sunday.  This was his first try beyond the minimum trip over timber and whilst he has shaped as though a stiffer test was required, he didn’t appear to get the extra distance.  He will likely be reverting to trips of around 2m next time.

The Week Ahead

Looking ahead to this week and we will have our first runner at Stratford tomorrow (Tuesday) when Leoncavallo (pictured above) contests the novices’ chase at 1.20pm.  He put up an excellent performance when runner-up on the flat at Sandown last month, beaten by the narrowest of margins on his first start for the Pond House team.

A high-class novices’ hurdler at his best, he has only had one start over fences which was almost two years ago.  He finished runner-up on that occasion and therefore he is still eligible for novices’ contests.  Whilst he is not the biggest of individuals, we have schooled him intensively at home and he jumps well so there should be races to be won with him over the larger obstacles.  Tom Scudamore will be in the saddle.

We have plenty of entries at Uttoxeter on Thursday where Huccaby, Story Of Friends, Malangen, Airton and Midnight Magic all hold engagements and we could have a runner or two there.  Huccaby showed some promise on his final start of last term, whilst Story Of Friends did well to score twice.  Malangen could revert to hurdles following a productive spell over fences last term and Midnight Magic was far from disgraced at the track a fortnight ago – a 2f drop back in trip could prove to be ideal for him.  Airton could be a first runner of the new season for the David Pipe Racing Club.

Story Of Friends also holds an entry at Newton Abbot on Friday, whilst Percy Street and Jasmin des Bordes also have engagements at the Devon track.  With 48 hour declarations the new normal, we will have to decide on their participation by Wednesday morning.

Credit Where It’s Due

In the face of the Covid 19 pandemic, the BHA have faced an even more difficult task than usual and whilst some of the measures undertaken may not have met with universal approval, I believe they are doing a good job.  In particular, I think the decision to allow some of the lower grade races to divide as many as three times is an excellent initiative.  It means that there are more opportunities for some of racing’s lesser lights to get a run and this is certainly the right time of the year to be doing it.

Good News For The Jockeys!

There was some good news for the jockeys as from today all of them will now be allowed to race-ride.  Until this point there have been restrictions in place, meaning that only the more experienced riders could compete, but that has now altered to allow everyone an opportunity.  That has to be considered good news, especially for those less established names for whom the riding fees will come as something of a lifeline.

At present the jockeys are only allowed to ride at one meeting per day and I can quite understand why that is the case.  This is a good idea and whilst there are nine or ten race cards then they should certainly stick with it.

Racegoers Return

Finally, one of the more controversial measures has been to allow the return of racegoers to the track.  Following approval from the government, Goodwood will be trialling the initiative by allowing their annual members access to the course for the final day of their summer meeting on 1st August.  Let’s hope that everyone is sensible and it is a great success.  As the first major sporting event to allow spectators once again, the sport is going to come under incredible scrutiny.  Goodwood is a top class facility and I am sure they will do everything possible to make this work…let’s hope the public uphold their end of the bargain.

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