If you have never been racing at Southwell before, then Tuesday is definitely the day to do it, as you could witness history being made. The two mile claimer, the penultimate race on the programme, features two fantastic and brave veterans in the shape of Stand Guard and La Estrella, both of whom are attempting to break China Castle's all weather record of 25 wins on artificial surfaces.
Stand Guard and La Estrella were supposed to face off a fortnight or so ago, but La Estrella was withdrawn about half an hour before the race after hitting his head on his box whilst rolling. Stand Guard won the race regardless and moved level with La Estrella on 24 wins apiece. Stand Guard ran today at Lingfield in an attempt to get to the 25 win mark before Tuesday's big clash, but finished 2nd at odds of 1/7. Coincidentally, La Estrella's work rider is former rider of China Castle Michael Tebbutt! It won't be completely straightforward with the likes of Gogeo, a recent course winner also entered in the race but it has certainly captured the public imagination.
Talking of course specialists, Frontier Fighter was a brave winner of the feature seven furlong handicap here last Tuesday under Danny Tudhope. Jockey Tom Eaves enjoyed a very good afternoon as he rode a treble, which included wins on Art Dzeko for Brian Baugh, plus an easy victory on Arr’ Kid for Keith Dalgleish before he again teamed up with Dalgleish to strike with Beautiful Stranger in the three year old handicap.
There was a nasty incident in the first race of the day in which Gebayl, ridden by Mark Coumbe, broke a blood vessel and hung badly left, falling and bringing down William Carson and his mount Roxy Lane. Both horses were okay but jockey Mark Coumbe was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham to be checked over after he reported to have pains in his back and pelvis. There was a long delay to racing but the team worked wonders and managed to squeeze in the whole card before it got dark. Mark has been released from hospital and is recovering at home, our best wishes go out to him.
We race again on Monday with a jumps card subject to inspection which could become a “Jumpers Bumpers” card should the weather have its way before the face off on Tuesday afternoon. Visit www.southwell-racecourse.co.uk for more details.