Well, again over the past few week’s we have yet again seen some sad news hit the headlines of our great sport. The sad news of the death of leading National Hunt owner David Johnson as he finally lost his long fight with the dreaded cancer. He put a lot into the sport and quite fittingly he had a great degree of success, If I was to go through all his major successes and the brilliant horses which gave him them I would have nor the time or the space for anything else. As a lover of flat racing I was very intrigued to read that his first major prize was in the Middle Park with a two year old called Mister Majestic some six year’s before he ventured into the National Hunt field.
The news of Johnson’s passing came only a day after the bad fall at Perth which saw Northern jockey Brian Toomey hospitalised. Whilst news of Brian and his wellbeing has been scarce, all I will say is the lad is in the best place and that we all say a prayer for him and to wish him well in his recovery. Brian is the boyfriend of the top Northern lady jockey Amy Ryan and is he is attached to her dad, Kevin Ryan. My thought’s are with the Ryan’s at this difficult time.
It is with sadness that one of Kevin’s owner’s and a stalwart of Northern racing, Guy Reed (pictured above), passed away on Wednesday night. He was 91. As a kid growing up in Yorkshire I was fascinated by his pink, black and gold silk’s and his name was well known up her in the North. Chris Thornton trained 380 winner’s in the famous colours and when Reed sold Spigot Lodge, it meant that Thornton never trained on such a scale again. Flossy was an old favourite of mine, she made her debut at three running in three maidens on the all-weather before trying handicap company. She certainly didn’t show any promise on that handicap debut but from then on she won six races from her remaining ten races of 1999 oh, and that included a disqualification too!
She finished the season by winning the November Handicap and while she didn’t reach the heights off 1999 again she won a few more races and competed off marks in the 100’s. She was a real gutsy mare, one of many that Guy Reed bred and had a lot of success with.
Those colour’s will be missed up North on our many tracks.
Rest in peace David and Guy. Two great men, who were great for our wonderful sport.
The team have been in great form of late, with everyone getting in the winner’s enclosure apart from one and he would of done had he not arrived a little late for his ride!
Raul Da Silva has returned from a ban in great form and from 17 rides in July, he’s had six winner’s which has been brilliant. He’s been riding well and is full of confidence, so here’s hoping he can keep up this good run of form!
In an ideal world we would get this gorgeous sunny weather all day and it would chuck it down overnight! The ground is remaining on the fast side and as a consequence we are having a lot of small fields. It really is a nightmare for a lot of jockey’s and their agents at the moment. This weekend coming is a busy one with a few meeting’s on but, where as it could be a decent earner (it still will be, depending on who you are!), it is a struggle and that in the main is down to the ground. We saw at the recent Northumberland Plate meeting the going change dramatically due to heavy rain arriving following the track being watered, so now the clerk of the course throughout the country is probably been cautious as regards watering to some degree following the fallout from the Plate meeting.
Looking ahead to the weekend, I’m tending to look away from the handicap’s in fear of putting a winner up and to be told by Ron “well done, it’s another top rated winner!” so in the main I will leave them alone. However, I do like the chances of a couple in handicap’s over the weekend (we’ll see if they come out top rated later!!) and they are BARREN BROOK in the 4.40 York on Friday. Mick Easterby loves winner’s on the Knavesmire and I feel this fellow will give us a run for our money. He was just under three length behind Christmas Light the last time he visited the Knavesmire and he is seven pound better off here. He will be an each way price so definitely worth a few pounds on.
Another Yorkshire trained horse, LONG AWAITED, trained by the red hot David Barron, heads to Ascot for the 1.55 on Saturday. I put this up for the Epsom Dash and I felt at the time that he wasn’t given the best of rides. However he showed a return to form the next time out at Musselburgh and he should now be in peak form. He will again will be an each way price.
There is some top class sprint action on Saturday with the July Cup taking place at Newmarket and I like the chances of LETHAL FORCE following up his Royal Ascot win. Clive Cox’s charge has speed and also stamina, which I feel will be vital in fending off the challenges of Society Rock and likely favourite Shea Shea. At York we have the City Walls Stakes and it sees the reappearance of Mick Easterby’s speedster HOOF IT. He is best off on official figures and I’m sure he will be fit enough to take this.
At Ascot on Saturday, ALJAMAAHEER takes some group One form to the table in the Group Two Summer Mile at 2.30 and as one of the joint highest rated, coming into this with the proven Group One form I would want to be on the side of Roger Varian’s Dubawi colt.
As regards my rider’s, Kirsty goes to Ascot and York. She rides two for Luca Cumani at Ascot on Friday and KIKONGA will have every chance, that is if the ground isn’t too firm for her. I thought she was given a poor ride last time and as Kirsty knows her I expect the pair to go well. She rides GABRIAL’S KING at York for David Simcock and the good doctor Marwan Koukash, this gelding by Hurricane Run has been consistent of late so we hope he’ll go well for the Milkshake!
By the way, Kirsty say’s “hi” to you all. Ron did say he was going to explain why she had to stop producing a weekly update for Post Racing but basically it is because of her contractual agreement with her sponsor GBI Racing. They now have exclusive right’s to her blog.
Finally, if I could predict a dead heat I would want it to be the 7.50 race at Hamilton on Saturday! Raul rides Mandalay King for Marjorie Fife and takes on Justin on Feel The Heat. Mandalay King loves the Scottish track and is still well handicapped but I’m of the opinion that Feel The Heat may relish the faster ground more. I look forward to see what Ron comes up with for this race!
Have a great weekend and be lucky