WE STEP IT UP A GEAR ON FRIDAY.
Expect plenty of runners over the next few weeks as the flat turf season draws to a close, and the new jumps season kicks in. On Friday we send four up to Hexham where the going at the time of writing is good, and we also have one on the Tapeta in the evening at Newcastle.
At 2.20.pm, in the novice hurdle over two miles we will be doubly represented by Who's The Guv'Nor, and Dat'shallot. Who's The Guv'Nor made his seasonal debut over this course and distance 31 days ago when staying on for a 19 lengths third place finish. He had already shown previously at Market Rasen in May that he has the ability to win a novice hurdle when finishing second for which he received a mark of 111. The handicapper has since down graded him to 103, but the weight he receives off the two with form in the race should see him be competitive, although this trip would appear to be a minimum, Alain Cawley retains the ride.
We are also represented in the race by the twice raced Dat'shallot. To date she has run in two bumpers, back in May at Sedgefield, and also at Kelso where she finished down the field, looking like she would need more time. She returns after her summer break for what will be her hurdles debut, with Conor O'Farrell taking the ride.
The Pine Martin has suffered more than his fair share of injuries since arriving from Ireland back in 2017, and has only raced for us on eight occasions since then. He returned from an eight months break at Hexham 31 days ago when making his chase debut, a staying on 12 lengths fourth, he wouldn't have to improve too much on that run to be competitive here. The race is at 2.55.pm, a 0-105 handicap chase over three miles, with Alain Cawley retaining the ride.
Ballycrystal goes to post at 4.05.pm, in a 0-105 two and a half miles handicap chase, with Alain Cawley in the saddle. This will be the first time Ballycrystal has run over fences since joining us, having raced exclusively over hurdles to date. He got his head in front at Newcastle in April, and will now run from a 5lb higher mark. Ballycrystal was rated 130 at his peak back in 2018, and ran up to that mark when winning a novice chase at Carlisle. He may not be quite as good as he once was, but he can now go back over fences with a mark of just 98.
We also send Gold Zabeel up to Newcastle for a 0-75 handicap at 8.30.pm, over five furlongs, with the promising apprentice Jonny Peate taking off 7lb. Gold Zabeel was a very consistent performer when trained by Mark Johnson last season, finishing in the first three on five occasions He made his stable debut for us at Carlisle in July, finishing a staying on third over six furlongs. He stepped up to seven at Thirsk on his latest start, but he never recovered from a slow start. Gold Zabeel has placed form on artificial surfaces, but this will be his first visit to Newcastle.
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Good luck to the connections. Mr & Mrs I P Earnshaw, Mrs Gemma Hogg, The Rat Pack Racing Club, A & S Associates, and D Hague.