Entries & Recent Form

It is a busy day for the yard this afternoon with no fewer than five runners at Worcester.  Conor O'Farrell takes the ride aboard American Art, Bold Perk and Twilight Affair, while Timmy Murphy rides David Johnson's Vertige Dore who makes his chasing debut.  Champion jockey Tony McCoy has come in for the ride on Very Cool.  We appear to have one or two chances, so let's keep our fingers crossed for a productive afternoon.

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I was surprised to see trainer Bryan Smart criticise jockey Tom Eaves for not looking round to see how far clear he was aboard Lady Paris in the six furlongs handicap at Pontefract.  While it is true that you will be in for a sharp hike in the handicap from the assessor (especially over sprint trips!), I would rather that the jockey put the race to bed rather than risk losing it by dropping his hands.  The handicapper is not stupid and if he sees a horse being eased down through the final furlong he will add extra weight for the distance the horse could potentially have won by - personally I would be adding even more weight to stop jockeys dropping their hands.  It looks like Mr Smart will have to run his filly again under a penalty like all the other trainers do!

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I see that Kieren Fallon has announced himself a contender for this season's flat jockey's championship.  Just a few days after Ryan Moore was ruled out of contention with a broken thumb, the former six times champion jockey who is currently fifteen winners behind leader Silvestre de Sousa said that he would be going all out for a seventh title.  He says that he has been lazy until now, but will be travelling the length and breadth of the country in search of winners.  Personally, I have always been a big fan of Kieren Fallon and I think that he still has plenty to offer - if he does decide to get stuck in, his current odds of 6/1 could begin to look generous.  The real surprise package has of course been Silvestre de Sousa, who seems to have come out of nowhere to lead the championship this season.

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It was a good day for the yard yesterday when Bathwick Man landed the handicap hurdle in the hands of Conor O'Farrell at Newton Abbot.  It was a change in tactics from the usual front running role and it seemed to suit him well, coming home six lengths clear of his rivals.  It is great to have a winner for stable sponsors Wayne and Sarah Clifford who put so much into our sport.

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David has three runners at Newton Abbot today with Bathwick Man kicking off our trio in the 4.30pm race.  He ran well on his comeback run at Stratford and finished second but dissapointed at Uttoxeter last time out.  Conor O'Farrell is in the saddle once again and we are hoping he can bounce back to form.  Conor rode a winner at Galway yesterday for former boss John Joseph Hanlon so we are hoping he can continue in the winners today as he rides all of David's runners this afternoon.  Kilshanna runs in the Conditional jockeys handicap chase and Star of Germany runs in the conclucing chase on the card.  

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The range of markets that bookmakers offer the poor punters to bet on these days never ceases to amaze me.  You can bet on just about evey sport from hurling (the Irish ball game - not something you do after a heavy Saturday night out!) to tiddlywinks as well as some more "speciality" markets such as who will be the first Premiership manager to ban their players from using social networking website Twitter, to who will light the Olympic Flame at the opening ceremony of London 2012.  The Olympic Flame market interests me and I see that some punters are keen to take on odds-on favourite (and five time Olympic gold medal winner) Sir Steve Redgrave with Sir Bob Geldof.  I just hope for their sakes that the opening ceremony is not on a Monday...I hear on the grapevine that Sir Bob is not too partial to those!

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Good luck to anyone having a bet at Goodwood this afternoon.  The Sussex track plays host to the annual cavalry charge that is the Stewards' Cup Handicap.  Although there is a race with only seven runners (featuring the top class Midday and Snow Fairy), the next smallest field contains no less than fourteen participants, while the remainder of the meeting has at least sixteen runners in each contest - it certainly looks like a tricky task to find the winners.

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