A BUSY DAY ON MONDAY WITH EIGHT RUNNERS.
We send five to Hexham over the jumps, where the going is currently good, and they are watering to maintain, and three to Pontefract on the flat, where it is good to firm, and they are also watering.
At Hexham we run two in the novices hurdle over two miles at 1.52.pm. Daddyjacks Special gained valuable experience when making his debut on the All Weather at Newcastle 30 days ago, finishing ninth of the 10 runners in a bumper. He has two very talented sisters, Ticfarin achieved a Racing Post Rating of 95 on the flat in France as a two year old back in 2008, and the Gordon Elliott trained Akorakor was officially rated 135 over fences in 2016. This will be his hurdles debut, with Billy Garritty taking the ride.
Our other representative in the race is Harry Go, who is also making his hurdles debut. He has ran twice to date, both times in bumpers, making his debut at Southwell last December, and then running to a similar mark at Hexham 20 days ago. Both of those starts earned him Racing Post Marks in the mid 80's, so this jumps bred horse appears to have a bright future, Alain Cawley rides him for the first time.
Penpal runs in the 0-130 two and a half miles handicap hurdle at 3.22.pm, with Alain Cawley, who has ridden him on all four of his starts for us retaining the ride.His standout run was at Catterick in novice hurdle company back in December when finishing fifth under a penalty, but he hasn't reproduced that performance in two subsequent runs, but the handicapper has taken note, and he is now 17lb lower than at the start of the season.
Dastardly Dick makes his racecourse debut at 4.30.pm, with Alain Cawley doing the steering.Dastardly Dick is the first produce out of an unraced Generous mare, and his sire Royal Anthem gets both flat, and jumps performers. This race looks like a nice introduction on paper, with none of the opposition providing any strong form, but of course they are all very lightly raced.
Grand Du Nord has his third bumper start, with Billy Garritty riding him for the first time. After slipping and falling before the start on his debut at Newcastle in November, he did very well to finish a staying on eight and three quarter lengths fourth. He returned to Newcastle in February, and although only finishing 10th, he was only beaten by six and three quarter lengths. He is a horse with plenty of scope for further improvement, in what looks a better quality division of the bumper.
We send three runners to Pontefract, with Sincerely Resdev, and Maison D'Or both contesting 'Round 2 of the Pontefract Stayers Championship at 2.0.pm. Sincerely Resdev has been a joy to have around since arriving at the yard, winning once, and being placed three times from his five starts over hurdles for us.This extended two miles and five furlongs is the second longest race in the calendar, so whether he gets the trip or not is an unknown. He stepped up in trip to the extended two miles and seven furlongs at Newcastle last time, and appeared to see that out, so he may well stay, P.J. McDonald takes the ride.
Maison D'Or also returns to the flat, after his winter campaign. His season looked on track with three solid efforts in November, and December, but his last three runs have all been well below par. He last ran on the flat over two miles and one furlong in one of the stayers championship races at Pontefract in July of last year, doing all of his best work at the business end, to finish sixth, beaten by 11 lengths.That race was on a good to firm surface, and he will probably have the same surface to cope with here. This is a specialist trip, and we wont know if he stays the 21 furlongs until after the race, Graham Lee who has ridden him twice before, will be back on board.
Irv returns over a mile at 2.30.pm, in the 0-70 handicap, with our stable apprentice jockey Aiden Brookes taking off 7lb, on what is only his second ever ride on turf. Irv probably recorded a career best, first time out last season at Thirsk when finishing second, and getting an official mark of 85, but in six subsequent runs, including being highly tried at York on three occasions, his mark has slipped back to a very tasty looking 72. As a three year old he looked set for big things after winning back to back races at York, and he now has a chance to get his career back on track.
Good luck to the connections, S Nicols, J B Harrison, D Lees, Resdev, Irvine Lynch, The Golden Cuckoo, Mrs Andrea King, and Middleham Park Racing & S Nicols.