On a cold, grey Thursday afternoon at Southwell, a pulsating dual up the home straight between Masterful Act and Hunting Ground in the day's feature class 2 race really warmed the cockles. Masterful Act is a seven year old who is trained locally by Alan McCabe at Averham Park, and has a very impressive strike rate on the Fibresand, six wins from seven starts, but he was up against Hunting Ground, an improving stayer from the Mark Johnston stable who went off an odds on favourite after a eight length win at Wolverhampton the previous week.
At the top of the home straight, long time leader Dewala gave way and it was left to the match with Masterful Act and Hunting Ground, and for the whole length of the two and half furlong home straight they were pretty much inseparable, but at the line it was Masterful Act who won by a neck. Masterful Act has now won a class 5, 4, 3 and 2 on the Fibresand at Southwell, asserting his dominance time and time again on the track in some excellent all-weather company.
On the rest of the card, there was yet another double for trainer Mick Appleby who has been in terrific form of late courtesy of Arabian Flight and Tartan Trip, with the former ridden by stable jockey Andrew Mullen and latter by young apprentice Ali Rawlinson, who is steadily making a name for himself amongst the Flat racing fraternity.
Sir Geoffrey won the opening race for Scott Dixon and Matt Hopkins, and the eight year old was winning his third race over course and distance in just over a month and his fourth course win in all. Another horse winning for the fourth time on the Fibresand was John Balding’s Silly Billy who took the mile furlong under Danny Tudhope and is thriving at present.
Our next meeting is today over the jumps meeting before two Flat cards on Tuesday and Sunday later this week.