SIX RUNNERS AT TWO VENUES ON FRIDAY.
We send four to Hexham in the afternoon, where the predicted going is good, and two to the All Weather at Newcastle in the evening, where it is expected to be standard to slow.
First up in the 1.15.pm at Hexham is our veteran mare Russian Royale who has always shown a preference for good ground. She returned for her ninth successive season of racing at Sedgefield last month, finishing sixth of the 10 runners, and although never getting involved still ran a race full of promise.She can now race off her lowest ever hurdles mark of 84, and our stable jockey Becky Smith who won on her over this course in June 2018 takes the ride.
We have two runners in the 0-100 handicap hurdle at 2.20.pm over the extended two miles and seven furlongs, in the shape of Artic Quest, and Burdigala, both were last in action at Cartmel 40 days ago. Artic Quest was making his stable debut after being away from the track for over 13 months, up until that race he had shown next to nothing, but at Cartmel he looked all over the winner until finding disappointingly little when asked to go and win his race on the long run in.The handicapper has been very fair only raising him 4lb, and he has been given a good break to get over those exertions, Becky Smith retains the ride.We also run the ex French seven year old gelding Burdigala, who has raced only four times since joining us in the Autumn of 2018, having been sidelined with injury for the whole of 2019. He arrived from France with a very high handicap mark, which is finally coming down, and that coupled with his first attempt at this longer trip will hopefully help to bring him back to the form he showed when winning at Nancy back in June 2018, Joe Colliver, takes the ride in place of Alain Cawley who is still out injured.
Commanding Spirit runs in the 4.05.pm over three miles in the 0-105 handicap chase. He has been placed in seven of his nine Irish point to points, form which would give him every chance off his current mark in this race, but under rules for us, and previously for Jonjo O'Neill he is yet to finish in the first four. He returned at Hexham in September, his first run in eight months, and that should have put him straight.Billy Garritty rides him for the first time, taking over from the injured Emma Smith-Chaston.
We have two runners at Newcastle, with The Retriever running over the straight mile at 7.30.pm.The Retriever is proving very consistent, rarely not giving his running, but on four occasions finding one two good, including 10 days ago over course and distance.There is no reason why he shouldn't give his running again,from a better draw this time, and from the same mark, with P J McDonald once again in the saddle.
Our final runner is Crash Helmet at 8.0.pm, he also runs over one mile,he makes a quick reappearance, having only run on Monday when being beaten eight and a half lengths over seven furlongs.We are still trying to find the key to him, as before he had a year out through injury he was very much on an upward curve, recording a mark of 69, which has now dropped to a mouth watering 47.P J McDonald missed the ride on Monday because he wasn't well, but will ride on Friday.
Good luck to the connections, Raypasha, Ian Barran & Oakwood, Rosemary Hetherington and Partner, Mrs Jennifer Hill & Mrs Samantha Toomes, RM&T Holdings Limited & Partners, and The Rat Pack Racing Club.