Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Johnston looking to turn the corner with this afternoon's debutant

There are eight races on the Fibresand this afternoon, giving racegoers an extravaganza of All Weather Championship action to get their teeth stuck into.

The day features a set of highly competitive handicaps from start to finish, separated by a maiden in which some big yards are represented. The maiden in question is being run over a mile and comes up at 2.10, with Mark Johnston and Peter Chapple-Hyam both bringing debutants to the track in the shape of Crusading and Reetaj respectively, although Mark Johnston is firmly on the cold list after having over a hundred consecutive losers. Both newcomers are up against William Haggas’ Toofeeg who sets the standard having been given a mark of 76 by the handicapper based on his three efforts so far, with Munstead Pride not discounted for Kingsclere trainer Andrew Balding.

The final two races are both 0-70 handicaps, with the penultimate race featuring last Thursday’s course and distance winner Royal Holiday, who was ridden excellently by Robert Winston last time. This time Jacob Butterfield takes the reins and an important 3lbs off his back to try and combat his 6lb penalty for his victory.

The final contest at 3.40 features Hellbender, trained locally in Clumber Park by Shaun Harris and owned by the Southwell Racecourse Owners Group. Hellbender has won or been placed in 29 of his 45 all weather starts, making him an ideal horse for a syndicate to get involved in and should provide his owners with plenty of fun over the winter months.

In the opening contest at 12.10, a mile and a half handicap, Roy Bowring’s Master Of Song is likely to be popular after he won here a fortnight ago at the first All-Weather Championship meeting over a mile on that occasion, although he has also been successful at this longer trip.

Another recent All-Weather Championship winner last Thursday, also here at Southwell was Best Tamayuz who gave Russell Harris his first winner, and he is turned out again quickly in the 1.40 race, with Luke Morris in the plate this time around.

There were two Fast-Track Qualifiers for Good Friday’s All Weather Championship Finals Day at Lingfield Park on Saturday.  Intransigent took the Unibet Golden Rose Stakes, to receive a pass for the sprint division for the soon to be retired Jamie Spencer and trainer Andrew Balding, before Battalion took the Coral Churchill Stakes impressively for Tom Queally and William Haggas in the middle distance category.

As for the sprint category, the two winners of the divisions of the 0-85 five furlong handicap here at Southwell on Thursday, Meadway and Poyle Vinnie both look as though they will run over the same course and distance on New Year’s Day in Southwell’s only Fast Track Qualifier.

For more information on upcoming fixtures at Southwell, please visit www.southwell-racecourse.co.uk.

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