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We have one runner on Thursday evening when the admirably consistent The Retriever returns to the sand at Southwell for the eighth consecutive time, in the, a 0-55 handicap over seven furlongs, which appears to be his optimum trip. He will be ridden for the fourth consecutive time by Aiden Brookes, and he has been lucky with the draw, as he will come out of stall 1. He is in the handicappers grip, but he has consistency on his side.

THE RETRIEVER. 22 March 2015. Shamardal-Silent Secret. Owner-RM&T Holdings Limited & Partners.

The Retriever is by the dual 2005 French Derby, and Guineas winner Shamardal, out of a Dubai Destination mare, who can boast the 100 Racing Post Rated listed winning filly, Sparkle'n'joy among her offspring.

The Retriever was a late starter, not making his debut until April of his four year old career, in a bumper at Hexham, something his breeder probably didn't have in mind some five years earlier.The Retriever was struggling from some way out, but did gain valuable racecourse experience, all of his races since have been on the level.

He made his flat debut at Wetherby in May 2019, under Paul Mulrennan, over 10 furlongs, which proved two far, so he was dropped down to seven furlongs 13 days later at Carlisle, in a maiden, showing his first semblance of form, coming home in fifth of the seven runners, beaten by 14 lengths. He next raced over a mile at Ripon in June, finishing well down the field, but getting his handicap mark.

The Retriever made his handicap debut from a mark of 52 at Catterick, staying on promisingly, to be beaten only three and three quarter lengths into seventh place.He was back at Catterick in August, but lost the race at the start, by being very slowly away. At Musselburgh in September, he once again missed the break, but did make a little late headway to finish seventh, beaten by four lengths. He made his all weather debut at Newcastle in October, and definitely showed a preference for an artificial surface when running on in to third place, over seven furlongs.

The Retriever has come into his own since being transferred to the All Weather, where he appears to act just as well on any artificial surface, having run well at both Southwell, and Newcastle. He has actually been second on five occasions at Southwell, and once at Newcastle, and it appears that seven furlongs is his optimum trip. He finally got that first win at Southwell in November 2020, and has continued to run admirably in all five starts since.He probably has very little in hand with the handicapper, but as he continues to run well consistently, then the law of averages say he will be in the winners enclosure once again. TO BE CONTINUED.

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

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