Tag Archive for: nick alexander

Stainsby Girl makes all in Haydock demolition

Stainsby Girl upset hot favourite You Wear It Well with a fine front-running victory in the Listed Virgin Bet Every Saturday Money Back Mares’ Hurdle at Haydock.

Cheltenham Festival heroine You Wear It Well was a 1-2 shot to to make the most of having her sights lowered, having finished third in the Grade One Fighting Fifth and second in a Grade Two at Doncaster on her last two starts.

However, Gavin Sheehan was sending out distress signals in the saddle even before the home turn and she was ultimately well beaten in third.

Stainsby Girl, trained by Nick Alexander and owned and ridden by his son, Kit, finished fifth behind the Willie Mullins-trained Ashroe Diamond at Doncaster three weeks ago and led her rivals a merry dance here on her way to a 12-length verdict over Coquelicot.

“I thought she’d run well as she’s run some great races around here. I’m thrilled to bits as she deserved some black type and that’s the first time she’s managed to get any,” said Alexander of his 8-1 winner.

“She’s 10 now, so she’ll be going to stud soon enough. She handles that ground and she’s very difficult to pass as a lot of horses don’t handle it.

“We’re very lucky the BHA moved the race here after Warwick was abandoned last week, many thanks to them and to Haydock for doing so. We weren’t in the race at Warwick, so it’s a bit of good fortune.

“Kit owns her so we’ll see what he wants to do, but he gets some thrill riding her so he might want to have another go or two with her I would think. On the other hand she’s won her Listed race now and she’s booked in to see Logician, so she might just go there.”

Now Is The Hour completed a big-race double on the card for Gavin Cromwell and Sean Flanagan, dominating his rivals in the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle.

While stablemate Yeah Man was a well-fancied winner of the Grand National Trial earlier in the afternoon, this recent Limerick scorer was 12-1 to scoop Grade Two honours.

He could be called the winner a long way from home, though, cruising into contention before pulling 17 lengths clear of Don’t Rightly Know.

Flanagan, riding at Haydock for the first time, said: “I’m just very privileged to come here and ride for the likes of Gavin – he’s produced this horse brilliantly on the day.

“It’s a big thing to him that he really enjoys this type of ground. We’ve gone very quick to the first bend and I’ve kind of let them at it up front and left my horse to be comfortable for as long as I could.

“I’ve got into a nice rhythm and he’s come home well because of that. He’s a nice prospect.”

Jonjo O’Neill and Nick Schofield combined to land the Virgin Bet Daily Extra Places Handicap Chase with 11-4 market leader Regal Blue.

The seven-year-old was disappointingly pulled up on his most recent appearance at Lingfield, but bounced back to form with a determined three-length success.

Schofield said: “He really enjoyed conditions today when others probably didn’t. You have to be tough on this ground. He’s no speedster, but he keeps going.

“It’s totally different conditions to day to what we got at Lingfield. He ran well here the time before, we’ve brought him back to what we know and it’s worked.”

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Cuthbert Dibble (6-4 favourite) made it two from two for the season and four from seven over obstacles overall in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle under 5lb claimer Finn Lambert.

Willy Twiston-Davies, assistant to his father, said: “I thought that was impressive, he made a lot of ground up early in the straight and was left dawdling in front a bit.

“We’ve always held him in high regard and he’s getting his act together as the years go on.

“The Pertemps Final has got to be under consideration, he’s had a hard race but he’ll definitely have an entry and we’ll see what the handicapper does.

“Chasing next year will be his thing. We’ve always known he was an exciting horse and he’s proven that again today.”

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Alexander chalks up four-timer at ‘lucky’ Ayr

Nick Alexander enjoyed another memorable afternoon at one of his “lucky” tracks as he saddled four of the seven winners at Ayr on Wednesday.

The Kinneston handler is a regular visitor to the winner’s circle at the Scottish venue and has trained more winners at Ayr than at any course across the length and breadth of Britain.

He made a flying start to the track’s latest fixture, with point-to-point recruit Ozzy Cosmo (14-1) making a successful debut under rules under Bruce Lynn in the curtain-raising novices’ hurdle, a victory which set the tone for a profitable day.

“I hoped they would run well, but I thought the ground might be a bit soft to be honest. It’s very good of them to put on an extra fixture and I’m delighted,” said Alexander.

“I had a five-timer at Ayr once and it seems to be a lucky racecourse for us. I just love bringing horses here because it’s a such a big, fair track and it is reasonably local to us.

“I’m over the moon really, the day couldn’t have gone better.”

Following Ozzy Cosmo’s success, Alexander swiftly doubled up with 9-1 shot Beat The Retreat, whose rider Danny McMenamin also steered the trainer’s Cream Of The West (9-2) to victory later on the card.

The four-timer was completed by the Sean Quinlan-ridden Artic Row, who obliged at 2-1 in the penultimate race.

Alexander added: “Ozzy Cosmo is a very nice and we just hoped he’d run well. It wasn’t the deepest novice and he’s won it nicely. He’s going to be a three-mile chaser if he’s lucky, so we’re delighted he’s been able to win over two miles over hurdles.

“Beat The Retreat was a little disappointing last time, but it was very deep ground at Kelso that day and it was two-mile-six, whereas today he was back to two-mile-two on slightly better ground.

“The form of Cream Of The West’s last race at Hexham (finished third) has worked out very well, so we were delighted to see him get off the mark, and Artic Row has improved for the step up in trip and fences, which is great.

“They were all sort of entitled to win if everything fell right, but I thought we were going to have a winner or two at Musselburgh earlier in the week and we were nowhere near it, so it’s swings and roundabouts.”

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Alexander hoping Shishkin sets up Rehearsal for Elvis

Nick Alexander is keeping his fingers crossed that Shishkin lines up at Newcastle on Saturday to give him the best possible chance of bagging a second victory in the BetMGM Rehearsal Chase with Elvis Mail.

The Kinneston handler saddled stable stalwart Lake View Lad to land the prestigious handicap five years ago and has high hopes for his latest candidate, who made a successful start to his campaign when notching a fifth Kelso win in last month’s Edinburgh Gin Chase.

What complicates matters slightly in terms of this weekend’s race is the presence of Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin, who could make a swift reappearance under the welter burden of 12 stone after refusing to race in last Saturday’s 1965 Chase at Ascot.

If Shishkin does take his chance, Elvis Mail will carry just 10st 1lb, but if Henderson decides against sending his multiple Grade One winner to the North East, the weights will rise considerably, and it is not inconceivable that Elvis Mail himself could yet end up carrying top-weight.

“I’d love him to be running with 10st 1lb on his back. He’s well and ready to run again and he’d certainly be running if that was the case,” Alexander explained.

“If the top-weight doesn’t run and the next two (Ga Law and Datsalrightgino) were to run at Newbury and he was to end up with top-weight, then I wouldn’t be certain.

“He’ll probably run anyway. He won very nicely at Kelso, we were delighted with him and he’s been great since, so fingers crossed he’s still great on Saturday.”

It remains to be seen whether Shishkin will run at Newcastle
It remains to be seen whether Shishkin will run at Newcastle (David Davies/The Jockey Club)

Elvis Mail has won eight races in his career so far, with his five Kelso triumphs supplemented by a trio of wins at Ayr.

Alexander feels the nature of Gosforth Park should suit his charge just fine, adding: “He likes a galloping track and has run well at Doncaster.

“He doesn’t want holding ground, so he could do with them getting a snow shower or something, just to keep it on the wetter side. He likes decent ground as well, so he should be fine.

“I’m very much looking forward to running him.”

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Wakool hits new heights with Rendlesham glory

Gallant grey Wakool admirably stuck to his guns to claim top honours in the Betfred Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock.

The seven-year-old had previously won six times for Scottish trainer Nick Alexander, steadily climbing the handicap ladder ahead of this Grade Two assignment.

Turning out less than a fortnight after finishing fourth at Musselburgh, Wakool was on and off the bridle at various stages of the extended three-mile contest and rounding the home turn looked booked for minor honours at best, with the strong-travelling Itchy Feet looking the most likely winner.

But Conor O’Farrell never gave up aboard the Alexander runner and his stamina kicked in late on, seeing him get up to beat Itchy Feet by a length and three-quarters, with possible Grand National contender Ashtown Lad best of the rest in third.

“He’s been a tremendous horse and he’s just kept progressing since his juvenile days and now he’s won a Grade Two race, so I’m thrilled,” said Alexander.

“He won his first race at Doncaster three years ago over two miles and that was his first handicap, so he’s moved up the ranks really nicely.

“I just thought he was never travelling to be honest with you. He had a run 13 days ago and had a hard race and this looked as though it had come too soon for him before the turn for home – when he suddenly came back on the bridle.”

Betfair cut Wakool to 16-1 from 33-1 for the Pertemps Final at next month’s Cheltenham Festival, but he appears unlikely to be in action at Prestbury Park.

Alexander added: “He’d be qualified for it, but I don’t think we’ll go. I’ll speak to the owners but now he’s won a Grade Two, we’ll try to find another Graded race for him

“It’s quite often that this race isn’t the deepest, perhaps because it’s so close to Cheltenham, so it’s been on my mind for a while and I’m delighted it worked.”

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