Irish trainer John Patrick Ryan is having his best season on record with 35 winners on the board already. His recent best prior to this year was 15 winners in a season so he has clearly unlocked growth at the yard and is operating at 11 per cent this term.
It must be hugely interesting that he sends one horse all the way to Kelso on Thursday. Not only is he based in Ireland, he is based in Templemore in County Tipperary which is in the south-west of the country. It is an 800-mile round trip from his yard to Kelso Racecourse.
The horse in question is Highland Sting who will run in the opening Racing To Work Handicap Hurdle. This is a Class 3 race and is for horses rated 0-130. Nine will go to post and it is a competitive affair on paper.
Highland Sting ran no race at Thurles last month but was well out of his depth but if you take his debut Sligo effort literally, he looks very well treated off 113 on handicap bow. He was second to Churchstonewarrior who is now rated 134 over hurdles.
Ryan is three winners from nine runners when a horse is making its handicap debut in the last 12 months. This horse could be miles ahead of the handicapper and the yard wouldn’t be sending one over there just to make up the numbers.
Stuart Crawford has two runners at Kelso too but he is a regular visitor to the track. He is also 0-16 at Kelso in the last five years so his runners certainly wouldn’t interest us as much as Highland Sting would on Thursday.
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