At the time of writing parts of Catterick racecourse are still frozen, but with a thaw expected, prospects are looking good. If it gets the go ahead it will be soft ground, with us sending seven runners to the track.
We have two of the 15 runners declared for the 12.45.pm, a 0-115 handicap over the extended two miles and three furlongs. One of whom is Burdigala who came from France in November 2018 with a rating of 115, but since arriving has only raced on seven occasions, as he was struck down with injury for 15 months, and then lock-down curtailed his season. He has yet to show any of his good French form for us, and has fallen to a mark of 89, he will be ridden by Jamie Bargary for the first time.
Our other runner in the race is the ex Irish Getaway Jewel. He arrived having shown nothing in five starts, but since joining us has made steady progress in each of his three runs. On his last two starts he has been doing his best work at the business end, so a fast run race would be in his favour. Alain Cawley takes over in the saddle from Becky Smith who is unable to take the mount, due to amateurs not being allowed to ride at the moment, because of the covid situation.
We also have two runners in the 2.15.pm, a 0-140 handicap chase over three miles and one furlong. Schiehallion Munro will carry top weight as he is rated 140, with his regular jockey Joe Colliver in the saddle. Shiehallion Munro doesn't know how to run a bad race, and he acts on the track, having won there as a novice last season. The one question mark is the trip as he has never raced beyond an extended two miles and four furlongs before.
We are are also represented by another course winner in the race, in the shape of Justforjames. Although he has now reached the veteran stage, he showed on his last start 88 days ago that the enthusiasm is still there, when staying on in to third. Unfortunately he remains 6lb above his last winning mark, which was at Catterick in February 2019, Alain Cawley takes the ride.
Ilaya has yet to reach the heights of last years very successful season, in four attempts since October.She won twice last year, but the pick of her form was probably when finishing second in a novice hurdle over this course and distance last March. Her official mark has dropped 12lb since then, so a return to form would make her of great interest, Joe Colliver takes the ride at 2.45.pm.
Our final two runners both go in the bumper at 3.45.pm. We welcome a new face to the team, when the five year old gelding Mister McArthur makes his racecourse debut in the famous silks previously worn by the Cheltenham Festival winner Mister McGoldrick, and our very own, and much missed Becky The Thatcher. Mister McArthur is the eighth racecourse representative of his dam Arctic Queen, who only raced on three occasions, starting out life being trained by Andrew Balding back in 2003. His sire is the top class middle distance performer Phoenix Reach, the winner of three Group One races, he also has three full brothers, and a full sister, who have won nine races between them. Alain Cawley will take the ride.
We also run Wisteriarose who has raced on one occasion to date, when finishing down the field at Musselburgh in November. He was too keen that day,and predictably weakened from over three out. He has a lot to live up to, as three of his half brothers have achieved above average form, particularly the Class 2 winning, and 163 Racing Post Rated Hell's Kitchen.
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Good luck to the connections, Rosemary Hetherington And Partner,MKjp Racing, J4J Partnership, Tennant, Lynch, Sharpe And Boston, The Golden Cuckoo, Mrs Jane Newett, and Mcgoldrick Racing.