Whilst most eyes will be on Epsom tomorrow afternoon for the Derby (Hurricane Lane is my tip!), our focus will be very much on Hexham where we have two runners at the picturesque Northumberland venue.
First to take his chance is Speak of The Devil, a previous course winner who ran a fabulous race to finish second on his most recent visit a month ago. That was a race in which the majority of the fences weren’t jumped due to the low sun – something that definitely wasn’t in Speak of The Devil’s favour – so it was a particularly noteworthy effort in the circumstances. Racing from the same mark tomorrow, we are hopeful of a big run.
Our second runner is Rapid Raider in the 2m4f handicap chase. ‘Raider’ ran a promising race when fifth on his chasing debut over course and distance recently and would have finished closer but for making a mistake at the last. He needs to improve, but he should prove capable of better with that experience under his belt.
We have been busy on the Flat this week with runners at Ayr on Wednesday, Hamilton on Thursday and at Catterick today.
On Wednesday, the mare Engles Rock bounced right back to form with a fine second to an unexposed three-year-old and Red Missile also ran well to finish a close fourth having been hassled on the lead throughout.
Gripper was sixth at Hamilton yesterday, backing up well having run over hurdles at Cartmel on Monday, whilst Ballyare showed once again what a super-consistent horse he is, finishing with a late rattle to claim third, beaten just ½ length in the 5f handicap.
Today at Catterick, Book of Invasions found the opposition in maiden company a bit too hot to handle once more, but this run should qualify him for a handicap mark and we’ll now look to target some staying events around Musselburgh.