And to celebrate one of the best days racing in the calendar, we send a team of eight to Sedgefield on Tuesday, and for good measure we also have a runner on the all weather at Newcastle in the evening.
At Sedgefield where the going is currently soft, good to soft in places, the ex French Halpha Soleil has his second start for us since arriving at the yard last December. He was the winner of two National Hunt flat races in France, and made an okay start for us over hurdles at Wetherby 27 days ago when finishing fifth, he wouldn't have to step up on that by too much to be competitive here. The race is a novice hurdle over the extended two miles at 1.50.pm, with Conor O'Farrell retaining the ride.
At 13 years old, it is possible that there are some people who are actually younger than Roxyfet who are reading this. This Sedgefield legend has been given a real chance by the handicapper, and on ground he will appreciate he could still have one more big day in him. This will be Roxyfet's 42nd appearance at Sedgefield, from which he has won on nine previous occasions. He was second in this corresponding race in 2016, and 2017, and fifth in 2018, 4th in 2019, and 2nd in 2020. He gets on very well with Emma Smith-Chaston who has won on him three times previously, and she will be back in the saddle. The race is a 0-100 handicap chase at 2.30.pm, over two miles and one furlong.
We are also represented in the 2.30.pm, by Bandit D'Ainay who finished last season with an excellent second to Roxyfet at Hexham, but since his return he has failed to fire, which has made him a well handicapped horse if he can find that form again. He will be partnered by Conor O'Farrell for the first time.
Buto can only boast one third place finish from his 24 previous starts over jumps and on the flat. Since arriving from Ireland he has finished down the field in three hurdles races for us and is yet to get competitive, with the handicapper responding by dropping him 14lb. He goes to post for the 3.10.pm, a 0-105 handicap hurdle over the extended two miles and three furlongs, with Joshua Thompson taking the ride.
Westy Fox has had to wait nearly 11 weeks to get his ground since making an eye catching stable debut at Catterick. That day he was staying on in to third on his first start in almost eight months. This slight step up in trip will be in his favour, from a 1lb higher mark. The race is a 0-110 handicap chase over three miles and three furlongs at 3.50.pm, with Conor O'Farrell retaining the ride.
Applaus has become somewhat of a Carlisle specialist having won there three times, including on his last two starts, which means he comes in to this race chasing the hat-trick, on what surprisingly is his very first visit to Sedgefield. Applaus appears to have fallen in love with racing again, as in his younger days he was a very promising individual before losing his way. His mark of 109 looks fair, if he takes to the track. The race is a 0-120 handicap hurdle over the extended two miles at 4.30.pm, with his regular partner Emma Smith-Chaston in the saddle.
Trac is now the winner of four of his last seven starts, including his last two, with the latest coming at Sedgefield, where he made all 19 days ago. He has been raised a further 7lb for that, but judging by the way he won that day his winning spree may not yet be at the end. This drop back in trip, and the softer surface will be no problem. The race is a 0-100 handicap chase, over two miles and three furlongs at 5.10.pm, with his regular rider Conor O'Farrell in the saddle.
Touch Of A Dragon made a very pleasing racecourse debut in a bumper at Ayr four weeks ago when keeping on in to fourth, after being outpaced. With that race under her belt she should be a lot more wise as to what is expected, and although bumper form is always difficult to weigh up, it does look as if this race is weaker than the one at Ayr. She goes to post for the 5.50.pm, over the extended two miles, with Joshua Thompson retaining the ride.
We also have a runner up at Newcastle on the all weather at 5.0.pm, in the 0-50 Classified Stakes over 10 furlongs, when Odd Venture makes his second start for us since arriving from Ireland. Odd Venture finished fourth at Chelmsford 26 days ago, where under Aiden Brookes who retains the ride, he was denied a clear run which probably cost him third place, but possibly not a first or second placing. He arrived in England with a rating of just 37, and will need to produce a bit more if he is to take this.
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, T I S Partnership, Samuel Sutton & Partners, The Golden Cuckoo, Oakwood Racing, Rust, Stevenson And The Smiths, Mrs Gemma Hogg, Randall Orchard & Partners, and The Oakwood Nobels.