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  • Ian Ender

EIGHT RUNNERS AT THREE MEETINGS ON FRIDAY.

It's a busy day on Friday with three making the trip down to Market Rasen for their afternoon jumps fixture. We also send three down to Wolverhampton for their evening card on the all weather, and two to Ripon for their evening meeting.


At Market Rasen the going at the time of writing is good, and they are watering to maintain. The good ground is essential to bring out the best in Royal Village who is first up at 1.50.pm, in a 0-130 handicap chase over a trip just short of three miles. Royal Village who is now entering the veteran stage is a three times previous winner at Market Rasen, all over the extended two miles and five furlongs, but now he is that bit older he may need this extra distance to bring out the best in him, Connor O'Farrell retains the ride.


Penpal is next up at 3.35.pm, in a 0-100 handicap hurdle over the extended two miles and four furlongs, where he will have his regular partner Alain Cawley in the saddle. Penpal has run with promise on two of his last three starts, and will go very close with a repeat of his fourth place finish at Carlisle in February from a new all time low mark of 77. This step up in trip should suit, but he has no form on good ground.


Who's The Guv'Nor goes to post for the 4.10.pm, a 0-100 handicap chase over two miles and five furlongs, with Alain Cawley retaining the ride. Who's The Guv'Nor has shown no worthwhile form in five previous attempts over fences, which has seen his mark slip from 111 to his current rating of 87. He is obviously very well handicapped on his hurdles exploits, but needs to show more inclination for the fences.


Over at Wolverhampton Quoteline Direct makes a return to his favourite track, which was also the scene of his latest win back in January. Quoteline Direct's latest start at Pontefract nine days ago is best forgotten has he hated the first time cheek pieces, but this will be tough as he has the worst of the draw, although it is offset a little by him being a holdup horse. Also of concern is the step down in trip to the extended mile. The race is a 0-55 handicap, with Aiden Brookes having his first ride back after missing six weeks through injury.


The Retriever still remains 4lb above his last winning mark, and that is probably the reason why this consistent gelding has failed to get his head back in front 10 starts since. Having Aiden Brookes taking off 7lb will be a big help, but he has been unlucky with the draw, having to come out of stall 11. The race is a 0-60 handicap over his favoured seven furlongs.


Burnage Boy ran one of his better races last time at Wolverhampton when finishing fourth on his return to the flat. The problem is Burnage Boy is a 33 race maiden under both codes, and although finishing runner up on four occasions, he has always lacked that extra gear to see him home in front. He will face five rivals at 7.26.pm, in a 0-55 handicap over one mile and six furlongs with Aiden Brookes taking the ride.


At Ripon the going is good and they have been watering. Both of our representatives will go head to head at 7.15.pm, in a 0-75 handicap over two miles, in a race we have won, and had placed horses in on many occasions over the past few years. The Resdev Way showed that at the age of nine he is as good as ever when winning on the turf at Musselburgh eight days ago from a handy mark of 50. He will now carry a 4lb penalty in what is a stronger event, but he comes in to the race at the top of his game and remains well handicapped in comparison to his all weather mark. Paula Muir who has won on him four times previously retains the ride.


Our other runner in the race is Bon Vitesse who is the winner of two hurdles races since joining us last autumn. Bon Vitesse has improved for going jumping and is currently rated 112, and this will be her first start for us on the flat. When last seen for another yard on the level last August Bon Vitesse finished a very creditable second from a 1lb lower than now, but that was over 10 furlongs, and the big question is will she have the necessary stamina to see out this two miles.


To keep up to date with all the latest happenings at Oakwood Stables, Sharp Hill, and Curlew, click on 'NEWS' at www.mickyhammondracing.

Good luck to the connections, Cheltenham Trail & Cleeve Racing Club, The Golden Cuckoo, Mr & Mrs I P Earnshaw, JFW Properties Ltd, RM&T Holdings Limited & Partners, and Resdev.

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