One of the quickest ways to get skint is to make excuses for horses that continuously get beat, but Irv genuinely has been unlucky on both of his starts this season. He is a horse who does go well fresh, so it was no surprise he ran well on his seasonal debut at Pontefract in April, where he finished fifth, after continuously being denied a clear run inside the final furlong. Then last time at Thirsk in a maximum field of 16, he was drawn in stall 13, which is a disadvantageous draw, but he was running on at the end. He is now down to a mark of 70, which is 8lb lower than when he won at York in July 2019. The race is at 6.0.pm, over a mile, with Aiden Brookes retaining the ride.
Pontefract appear to have escaped the worst of the rain, with the going at the time of writing being soft, good to soft in places, although only 39 runners have declared to run at the meeting for the six race card.
Our other runner is the ex Mick Channon trained Walkonby at 8.20.pm. She will face just four rivals in a 0-70, one mile and two furlongs handicap, where she will carry top weight, with our stable apprentice jockey Aiden Brookes able to claim 7lb. Since arriving from West Ilsley Walkonby has run three times for us, making her stable debut at Wetherby last November over jumps where she pulled too hard, and trailed in ninth. A second attempt over hurdles was made in December at Catterick, but she never got involved. Prior to joining us she was the winner of four of her 12 flat starts, and on her first run on the level for us at Redcar, her jockey Billy Garritty felt she lost her action, and pulled her up, but thankfully a post race examination showed there was nothing wrong. She is now 1lb lower than when last winning at Haydock in June 2020, and should handle the ground, as long as there isn't a lot more rain.
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Good luck to the connections, Irvine Lynch, and Cheltenham Trail & Cleeve Racing Club.