Tag Archive for: Catterick

Betfair bid unlikely for Catterick victor It’s Good To Laugh

Plans for a tilt at the Betfair Hurdle are likely to be shelved for It’s Good To Laugh despite recording a runaway victory at Catterick.

Rated in the 90s on the Flat, the five-year-old made a winning hurdling debut when dead-heating at Perth in September and followed up with a 10-length success at Hexham the following month.

Having filled the runner-up spot behind Donald McCain’s Barrichello in a Listed event at Haydock, Jennie Candlish’s charge he was the 8-13 favourite stepping down in grade in North Yorkshire.

And while he ultimately got the job done comfortably in the racingtv.com/freemonth Novices’ Hurdle, there were a few scares along the way.

“He’s a fair horse and if he could jump he’d probably be a special horse,” said jockey Sean Quinlan.

The leading rider kept things simple aboard It’s Good To Laugh, sending him straight to the front at outset of the near two-and-a-half-mile contest.

Several untidy leaps kept things interesting, but is testament to his latent ability that he was still 16 lengths too good for previously unbeaten McCain runner River Walk.

Betfair cut the winner to 25-1 from 50-1 for the Betfair Hurdle on February 12, but he looks set to sidestep the prestigious Newbury handicap.

Alan O’Keeffe, Candlish’s assistant, said: “We’ve always thought a lot of him and to win with a double penalty is good.

“I thought Donald’s horse was a nice horse beforehand, so to not really jump a hurdle and win like that was impressive.

“The plan was to come here and get a 5lb penalty and go for the Betfair, but I’d say it’s unlikely the way he jumped today. You can’t jump like that in a Betfair Hurdle, maybe he’s not ready.

“We might look towards Aintree later in the season and try to get his jumping sorted out. He actually schools great at home and we’ve taken him to Warwick three or four times to school and he’s brilliant.

“For whatever reason he seems to get a bit of stage fright when he’s out there, but he’s got the engine and we can work with the rest of it.”

Mick Maestro and Charlie Hammond
Mick Maestro and Charlie Hammond (Mike Egerton/PA)

Mick Maestro made the most of having his sights lowered in the Baker Mcveigh & Abbott Handicap Hurdle.

In his last two starts Nick Kent’s inmate had finished down the field in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham and a Musselburgh handicap won by Champion Hurdle aspirant Tommy’s Oscar.

There was nothing of that calibre in this field and despite fluffing his lines at the final obstacle, he had enough in reserve to prevail by a length and a half from Golfe Clair under Charlie Hammond.

“We’ve dropped him back down to a class three today and this is his second win here, which is pleasing,” said Kent.

“I’d felt sorry for the horse actually the last twice as they were two tough races, but he is honest and it’s nice to have him back in the winner’s enclosure.”

Dan Skelton and Bridget Andrews teamed up to land the Free Month Of RacingTV Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase with Soyouthinksoagain.

A winner at Wetherby in October, the seven-year-old disappointed at Lingfield on his next start.

But faced with just two rivals, the 9-4 shot bounced back with a six-length verdict over Thatsy. Odds-on favourite Get Your Own was a disappointing last of three.

“We think the last day might just have come a bit quick after two quick runs,” said Andrews.

“The ground was pretty testing that day. I’m not convinced he wants proper good ground, but he definitely found it easier today to jump out of it today – and the break has definitely helped.”

Runners and riders going to post before the opening race at Catterick
Runners and riders going to post before the opening race at Catterick (Mike Egerton/PA)

Sam England’s Manwell (11-2) notched a second course victory in the Try Racing TV For Free Now Conditional Jockeys’ Veterans’ Handicap Chase under Tom Midgley.

Nathan Moscrop was delighted to get the Tim Easterby-trained Relkadam’s (9-2) head in front in the Start Your RacingTV Free Month Now Handicap Chase following successive runner-up finishes.

Moscrop, who needs only one more winner to lose his claim, said: “The last day at Wetherby I made a mistake. I put my hands up and I said to Tim I owed him a winner and thankfully it’s come today.

“The last day I got racing a bit too soon. Today they’ve gone a proper, even gallop and he’s actually snuck into it and it’s worked out, so happy days.”

Latino Fling (15-8) sent favourite backers home happy with a comfortable success in the concluding Racing TV Free For A Month Mares’ Handicap Hurdle for McCain and Brian Hughes.

Supreme Escape is North Yorkshire National hero for Williams and Bowen

Evan Williams was thrilled to see Supreme Escape make the long journey from South Wales worthwhile by claiming top honours in the Vickers.Bet North Yorkshire Grand National.

With a prize fund of almost £31,000 up for grabs, the stamina-sapping contest is the most valuable race of the season at Catterick and racegoers were treated to a cracking renewal in the January sunshine.

Supreme Escape, trained 280 miles away in the Vale of Glamorgan, had been well-beaten in his last two starts, but there was clearly some confidence behind him as he was prominent in the market at 5-1.

Sporting a first-time visor under a cool ride from James Bowen, the Dai Walters-owned eight-year-old powered home from the final obstacle to get up and deny Almazhar Garde by three-quarters of a length.

Williams saddled Billy Bronco to finish second in the 2018 running of this three-mile-six-furlong contest – his only previous runner at Catterick in the last decade.

“It was a very cool ride. James gets on very well with the horse and the visor has been a help, because at times the horse wants to do things his way,” said Williams.

“It’s a race we’ve gone up to in the past and they do such a good job, we try to support all these type of Nationals

“He might get into the Midlands National. He’d stay that trip so I’d say we’ll take a punt on that.”

Trainer Evan Williams
Trainer Evan Williams (Simon Cooper/PA)

Bowen, a previous winner of the Welsh Grand National and Midlands Grand National, was pleased to add the North Yorkshire edition to his CV.

He said of Supreme Escape: “He’s a good candidate for these Nationals and I’m sure he’s got a few more in him.

“I was happy at the top of the straight but got in tight to two out, which probably worried me a little bit. But he’s really quick away from a fence and even when he’s not right, he grabs the bit and takes you to each fence, which always helps.

“Evan doesn’t tell you a lot. He just said ‘do what you want on him’. He’s very easy to ride for and it’s a pleasure to ride for him.”

A Different Kind on another level to the rest at Catterick

A Different Kind is likely to have his sights raised on his next appearance after stretching his winning run to five at Catterick.

Runner-up on his sole start in the Irish point-to-point field, the five-year-old had since completed a Sedgefield hat-trick before beating a subsequent dual winner in Green Book at Haydock last month.

Donald McCain’s charge appeared to face a straightforward task in the EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle in North Yorkshire and those who got involved at cramped odds of 1-5 will have had few concerns.

Always travelling strongly in the hands of Brian Hughes, A Different Kind powered clear between the final two flights and had 11 lengths in hand at the line.

McCain is not one for getting carried away, but the fact he was at Catterick, rather than racing more locally at Bangor, is perhaps indicative of the regard in which this unbeaten youngster is held.

“He’s a lovely, switched off, likeable horse who does what he has to do and no more. Most grounds, different trips – he’s a grand horse,” the Cholmondeley handler said in typically understated fashion.

“Derek O’Connor recommended him to me and from the first day we got him we’ve loved him. He has an honest, straightforward way about him and he jumps like a buck.”

On future plans, McCain added: “We’ll have a look at Musselburgh for the Trials meeting (February 5 and 6). If we’re going there it will be over two miles, or there’s the Sidney Banks at Huntingdon.

“I train for a lot of people that prefer Aintree to Cheltenham and that has to be discussed. We’ll worry about the next step first and go from there.”

Jonathan Burke amd Guerlain De Vaux (right) in action
Jonathan Burke amd Guerlain De Vaux (right) in action (Simon Marper/PA)

Oliver Sherwood claimed what he believes to be his first ever winner at Catterick as Guerlain De Vaux (15-8) came out on top in the Watch Racing TV Now Novices’ Hurdle under Jonathan Burke.

The recent Market Rasen scorer looked booked for second early in the straight, but a final-flight error from Gredin opened the door and Guerlain De Vaux made the most of the opportunity to prevail by a head.

Sherwood said: “I thought Brian Hughes had nicked it coming down the hill, he probably knows Catterick a bit better than Johnny. But he was very brave and very tough.

“I got Argento Luna beaten in a mares’ race at Catterick and it was the best thing she ever did because she went and won the mares’ final at Newbury – if she’d won, she’d have been put up too much!”

The Very Thing caused a huge upset in an incident-packed Millbry Hill Novices’ Handicap Chase.

In a race where four of the nine runners either fell or unseated their rider, Becky Smith kept her cool aboard Micky Hammond’s 66-1 shot – finishing with a flourish to prevail by three lengths.

“I’m delighted he’s won for Derek and Jean (Walpole, owners). He’s been a frustrating horse for all of us,” said Hammond.

“A bit of girl power worked, didn’t it? She did well there, Becky. Having a visor on the first time obviously hasn’t done him any harm.”

Runners and riders in the fading sun at Catterick
Runners and riders in the fading sun at Catterick (Simon Marper/PA)

Jessiemac (7-2) got up in the final stride to win the racingtv.com Mares’ Handicap Hurdle by a nose for trainer Ian Duncan and 5lb claimer Thomas Willmott, while Dr Richard Newland’s Art Of Diplomacy justified 10-11 favouritism in the Every Race Live On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle.

Anyharminasking (11-8) also obliged for favourite-backers in the concluding Happy 60th Birthday Yuff Handicap Hurdle, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by his son, Jonjo Jnr.

Rob Burrow enjoys ‘fantastic day’ as Burrow Seven makes debut

Rob Burrow watched on as Burrow Seven shaped with significant promise when fifth on his long-awaited racecourse debut at Catterick on Tuesday.

The four-year-old gelding is owned by the Burrow Seven Racing Club, which was launched in November 2020 to raise money for the former rugby league star’s motor neurone disease Fight Back Fund.

Profits raised from the club are split equally between the MND Association and Leeds Hospital Charities, with funds raised so far totalling more than £100,000.

Burrow Seven in the parade ring ahead of his debut
Burrow Seven in the parade ring ahead of his debut (Simon Marper/PA)

Trained by Jedd O’Keeffe, Burrow Seven was a 5-1 shot for his first competitive appearance in the Racing Again 28th December Open NH Flat Race under 5lb claimer Oakley Brown.

With Burrow making the trip with his family to North Yorkshire to watch the race, the four-year-old looked to be struggling turning for home but finished to good effect to be beaten less than 10 lengths.

Burrow said: “It’s been amazing to finally watch Burrow Seven race. We’ve all waited a long time for this day and it was great to have my mum, sisters and Barrie (McDermott, former Leeds Rhinos teammate and Burrow Seven brand ambassador) watching with me, together with lots of Burrow racing club members.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, but a fantastic day out for me and my family. We’re delighted he came in fifth – our trainer Jedd said Burrow Seven is sure to improve so we’re already looking forward to future races.”

Oakley Brown poses for a picture with Rob Burrow ahead of his debut at Catterick
Burrow Seven’s jockey Oakley Brown poses for a picture with Rob Burrow ahead of his debut at Catterick (Simon Marper/PA)

Burrow Racing Club manager Phil Hawthorn said: “Burrow Seven gave a very promising run, it was his first day at school and he’ll learn a lot from the experience.

“The trip was probably a bit on the sharp side, but he really stayed on well at the end. Everybody was really happy with the race and we’re already looking forward to his next run.”

Victory went to 11-4 favourite Kracka Nut, representing the formidable combination of Dan and Harry Skelton, as favourites or joint-favourites won all seven races on the card.

Burrow Seven all set for Catterick debut

Burrow Seven will make his long-awaited racecourse debut at Catterick on Tuesday.

The four-year old gelding is owned by the Burrow Seven Racing Club, set up in honour of former rugby league star Rob Burrow MBE, with profits raised from the racing club split equally between the MND Association and Leeds Hospital Charities.

The club raised £100,000 for the MND Association last year and Burrow Seven brand ambassador Barrie McDermott, who is also a former Leeds Rhinos player, is excited to see their charge hit the racecourse.

He said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to all Burrow Seven members, corporate partners and brand ambassadors for their brilliant support during the 2021 fundraising campaign.

“We have been able to donate £100,000 and we are really looking forward to the 2022 fundraising campaign and seeing Burrow Seven make his debut.”

Burrow Seven is a half-brother to the useful Silver Hallmark among others and will kick off his career in the Racing Again 28th December Open National Hunt Flat Race, with trainer Jedd O’Keeffe hoping for a good run.

Speaking to Catterick Racecourse, he said: “We are very much looking forward to seeing Burrow Seven make his racecourse debut at Catterick. He’s ready for his first run and will benefit from the experience on the track.”

Magnificent Minella Trump makes it seven in a row

Donald McCain was thrilled to see Minella Trump extend his winning sequence to seven with a dominant front-running display at Catterick.

The seven-year-old appeared to have lost his way during his debut season over fences last season, but a switch back to hurdles saw him round off his campaign with victory at Perth.

Minella Trump has not looked back since, with an autumn hat-trick at the same Scottish venue followed by victories at Sedgefield and Sandown ahead of his latest assignment in North Yorkshire.

The Shantou gelding was taken on by just two rivals in the Lyn And Holly’s Big Birthday Celebrations Novices’ Chase – and it soon became a match after a couple of jolting early errors from Ask Paddington led to him being pulled up.

Baron De Middleton briefly threatened to make a race of it early in the home straight, but 1-2 favourite Minella Trump quickly asserted and came home with 21 lengths in hand under Brian Hughes.

McCain said: “I’m chuffed. He’s doing it at decent enough level and it takes a bit of doing.

“These things don’t happen very often. The last horse to win seven in a row for us was Peddlers Cross and I’ll never train another one of those. It was a different kettle of fish with him as that was expected – we never expected him to get beaten.

“This is a different story and a different type of horse, but for him to go through the grades and learn his job along the way is credit to him – he’s a star and I wouldn’t mind a few more like him, that’s for sure.”

Donald McCain has his string in excellent form
Donald McCain has his string in excellent form (Mike Egerton/PA)

With another rise in the handicap likely, Minella Trump will have to dip his toe into deeper waters at some stage, but McCain is in no rush to decide on where the bid for an eight-timer will take place.

He added: “Truthfully, I don’t know where we’ll go next. We’ll be governed by ground a little bit, so we’ll see what the weather does and we’ve got to see how he is.

“At some point he’s going to need a break, but I don’t think he’s taking too much of himself at the moment, so we’ll just have to see.

“We’re enjoying it and we’ll take him home and see where it takes us.”

Minella Trump was the first of three winners on the afternoon for the McCain-Hughes combination.

Minella Plus is another smart prospect for the team
Minella Plus is another smart prospect for the team (Mike Egerton/PA)

Recent Musselburgh scorer Minella Plus (2-7 favourite) doubled his tally over obstacles in the racingtv.com/freemonth Novices’ Hurdle, while the River Walk (9-2) carried the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings to a debut victory in the Racing Again 14th December Open NH Flat Race.

“Minella Plus is not over-big and won’t be wanting winter ground. He’s a little bit wild, but he’s learning his job and he’s done it well,” said McCain.

“It’s a crying shame Mr Hemmings has gone and we’re all training him winners at the moment.

“River Walk is a nice horse. I didn’t know if he’d win a bumper, to be honest, but he showed a good attitude and he’s got a proper staying pedigree.”

Hales delighted with winning start for Omar Maretti

Omar Maretti justified stable confidence when making an impressive debut over hurdles at Catterick on Friday.

A dual winner in the point-to-point field, the seven-year-old was a 15-2 chance on his first start for trainer Alex Hales in the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Maiden Hurdle.

With even-money favourite Ripper Roo back in third, Omar Maretti engaged in a ding-dong battle with Barrichello halfway up the straight before pulling six lengths clear in the hands of Kielan Woods.

Hales said: “He’s a lovely horse – I’m delighted with him.

“The owner has a lot of point-to-pointers with Dale Peters near Huntingdon. I’ve had him about six weeks, but Dale has done all the prep work with him. He’s a good amateur rider and has a good nursery, so he deserves a lot of credit.

“The owners very kindly sent him to me as obviously there’s no point-to-pointing at the moment and he hasn’t put a foot wrong since he arrived. I’m not saying I knew he would win today, but I knew he wouldn’t be very far away.

“We think a lot of him and hopefully he’ll be able to win under a penalty somewhere.”

Tinnahalla clears the final flight at Catterick
Tinnahalla clears the final flight at Catterick (Tim Goode/PA)

While out of luck with Ripper Roo, trainer Olly Murphy did not leave the North Yorkshire circuit empty handed, having earlier saddled Tinnahalla to win the opening Millbry Hill Juvenile Hurdle.

Fourth and second in his two previous starts over jumps, Aidan Coleman’s mount made it third time lucky with a near three-length verdict over fellow 13-8 joint-favourite Homme Public.

Murphy said: “He’s a grand horse who probably hadn’t done a lot wrong in two starts at Newbury and Kempton.

“He got the run of the race today and did it well.

“He’s a horse who can hopefully keep progressing.”

Silver In Disguise proved too much good for his rivals
Silver In Disguise proved too much good for his rivals (Tim Goode/PA)

There was a thrilling climax to the kingmakerracedays.co.uk Celebrate Mary Harle’s 101st Birthday Handicap Hurdle, with Sue Smith’s 7-2 favourite Small Present responding generously to Ryan Mania’s urgings to see off Small Present by a head.

The Tim Vaughan-trained Silver In Disguise (5-1) ran out a 21-length winner of the kingmakerracedays.co.uk Working With Kenny Johnson Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase under 5lb claimer Charlie Price, before Venetia Williams and Robbie Dunne teamed up to land the mares’ handicap chase with Quick Wave (4-1).

The final two races went to William Bethell’s Newberry New (13-2) and Ex S’elance (4-1) from Micky Hammond’s yard.

Blank day for British jumps cards on Wednesday

There will be no jumps racing in the UK for a second successive day after Wednesday’s meetings at Wincanton and Catterick were both abandoned.

With Kelso and Leicester’s Tuesday fixtures called off, jumping fans have been starved of action this week.

Wincanton initially inspected at 8am on Tuesday but pushed that back to 4pm as the course showed signs of improvement after a heavy covering of snow which arrived on Sunday.

However, the problem then was that thawing snow left areas of the track waterlogged.

“We held an inspection at 8am and couldn’t pass it due to a lot of snow lying, so decided to go again at 4pm,” said clerk of the course Daniel Cooper.

“We thought we’d be OK – but what has happened is the thaw has created standing water across the track, and the vulnerable areas have quite a lot. Even the areas that tend to be OK are slushy, and we can’t get through that.

“What caused the abandonment is the storing of the snow, and the snow has stayed with us a lot longer than thought. We’ve had everything thrown at us this winter.”

At Catterick, the thaw did not arrive in time – and the fixture was abandoned after a 3pm inspection.

A Tweet on the track’s official account read: “Unfortunately tomorrow’s card has been abandoned. Following 4 nights of hard frost and no improvement in conditions today the forecast slow rise in temperatures gives insufficient time for the track to be raceable.”

British jumps racing is scheduled to resume at Fakenham and Wetherby on Thursday.

But the West Yorkshire track must pass an initial inspection at 9am on Wednesday to assess the thawing of frozen areas of waterlogging in the back straight.

Huntingdon forced to abandon Friday card due to flooding

Friday’s meeting at Huntingdon is the latest fixture to fall foul of the weather due to waterlogging.

The Alconbury brook which borders the course has burst its banks. A precautionary inspection for 4pm on Thursday was initially called just before 8am, but not long after 11am it became apparent racing would not be possible.

Clerk of the course Jack Pryor said: “Unfortunately the brook has burst its banks and as a result the meeting cannot go ahead as the course is flooded.

“The brook bursting is quite a regular occurrence as we are on a flood plain.”

Pryor is also clerk of the course at Market Rasen, who are due to race on Saturday and as yet no problems are anticipated.

“It’s not too bad there. I’ve called it soft, heavy in places this (Thursday) morning, but rain is forecast so it could deteriorate a little bit,” said Pryor.

“At the minute we’ve no concerns.”

Thursday’s North Yorkshire Grand National meeting at Catterick had to be abandoned due to snow.

Officials called a precautionary inspection for 7.30am due to the threat of snow overnight, and clerk of the course Fiona Needham arrived to a wintry scene.

With snow continuing to fall, Needham had no option but to call off proceedings at around 6.30am.

She said: “The snow came in the small hours, I think. We had a covering when I got here just after 5.30am and I was thinking ‘if this turned to sleet, it might go’. Unfortunately, as I went to walk the course, the snow just got heavier and heavier.

“It became obvious the snow wasn’t going anywhere. It’s disappointing, but it is what it is.”

The are no worries at Warwick ahead of the Classic Chase meeting on Saturday.

Clerk of the course Jane Hedley said: “Based on the current forecast we’ve no concerns.

“We’re soft heavy in places at the minute and we’re expecting a bit more rain or maybe sleet, but nothing that should lie – we don’t think.

“Friday is dry, but we are due some rain on raceday, which is annoying more than anything so there’s every chance we could have heavy ground. But it’s not forecast in volumes that concern us.”

Lingfield’s National Hunt meeting on Monday has been called off following a Thursday inspection.

The situation was bleaker still ahead of Newcastle’s meeting on January 20, where the course was partially frozen, waterlogged and under snow. A noon inspection was called, with the inevitable outcome confirmed shortly afterwards.

Both meetings have been rearranged to be run as ‘Jumpers Bumpers’ cards.

Paddy delivers for returning Hogan

Denis Hogan came out of retirement to steer Paddy The Wire to victory in the concluding bumper at Catterick.

The County Tipperary handler announced he was giving up riding after enjoying Galway Festival success aboard Bua Boy at the end of July, in a bid to concentrate on his upwardly mobile training career.

However, Hogan made a surprise return to the saddle at Ayr on Monday when finishing second on Grozni, and extended his stay in Britain by 24 hours to partner Paddy The Wire in the Racing Again 28th December Intermediate Open NH Flat Race in North Yorkshire.

Fourth on his bumper debut at Limerick last month, the 4-1 shot received a patient ride from his trainer before making good headway after the home turn – and he got up late in the day to beat Risk D’Argent by half a length.

Hogan, who has made his mark in the training ranks with the likes of smart sprinters Sceptical and Make A Challenge, said: “I think a lot of people were surprised to see me jocked up at Ayr yesterday and Catterick today, and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.

“I suppose I’ve missed riding. Since I stopped I’ve been doing a lot of running and keeping fit, and for the last couple of years riding has been more of a hobby for me than anything anyway. Training has been number one, and getting on board one or two was a bonus.

“I still have my licence and I just thought ‘you know what, they’re two bumpers and I’m riding two lots a day, why not have a go?’ If nothing else it keeps my head right, and I find it gives me an extra insight to how they’re going being able to sit on them.”

Hogan has not ruled out riding again, adding: “There’s a chance I might ride one or two over Christmas – and whether I’ll renew my licence next year or not, we’ll see.

“We have a lot more Flat horses than jumpers these days. But of the jumpers that are there, there’s a couple of new ones that could be exciting, so we’ll play it by ear.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this without having a super team around me. I only came over to ride because with a negative (Covid-19) test you now only need to isolate for five days when you go back to Ireland.”