Wetherby rounds off season in a storm

Jonjo Sanderson pleased with Wetherby season

Wetherby rounded off its season last night with a “summer” evening card. You could have been forgiven for thinking that it was early February, as racing took place under heavy black clouds and torrential rain that turned the going from good to soft in the morning to heavy by the time the horses left the paddock for the first race.

There were some suggestions that a major betting coup was planned for one of the races as County Louth trainer Michael O’Hare had sent a runner over for each of the seven races.

In 2010 the stable sent five runners over to the same meeting, and each one was heavily backed during the morning. In the event, O’Hare had just one winner that night, Bale O’Shea. The horse had opened up at 8/1, but was down to 2/1 by lunchtime. At the off, the horse had drifted to 9/2 following defeats for the earlier runners.

The changed going last night led to O’Hare pulling three of his runners out, though his trip still proved worthwhile as he went home with two winners, Sweet Shock and Cracking Man, and a second from the four horses that did take part. His father, Barney, said, “We brought them here because the races suited. They cane for the ground, but unfortunately it has gone soft. Sweet Shock used to be really decent and it’s good to see him back winning.”

O’Hare wasn’t the only person happy last night. Wetherby chief executive Jonjo Sanderson pronounced himself more than satisfied with the season at the West Yorkshire track, with the number of entries up 7.5% on last year. To some extent this was a reflection of the different cards which were lost to the weather in the two seasons, as he acknowledged. “We had the two day Christmas meeting which we’d lost for the previous two years. But we lost our January Saturday, the Towton Chase meeting and our Sunday. Frost, snow and flooding – we just needed famine and fire for the full set.”

Top trainer for the season Sue Smith had a night off, whilst top jockey Dougie Costello rounded off with a winner on Tinseltown.

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