Three meetings took place in the UK & Ireland on Sunday – Huntingdon, Sedgefield and Naas – as the Irish course provided the class racing a Grade B Handicap, Grade 3 Novice Chase and Listed Novice Hurdle. There was also racing from across the British Channel with Auteuil hosting a quality jumps card.
Any follower of Micky Hammond’s Twitter account (@MHammondRacing) will see the emphasis they put on teamwork, including assistant Gemma Hog winning Godolphin’s Stud and Stable Staff Employee of the Year, and the hard work paid off today with an impressive 80/1 Sedgefield treble: Beer Googles (14:50), Auldthunder (15:20) & Roxyfet (16:20). We tipped the latter two and they both did it very impressively,
Naas didn’t provide much help to punters, and it was a bad start as Gurteen made no impression in the opening Listed Novice Hurdle at 14:10 after being sent off 2/1 favourite. The lightly raced field outsider Sutton Place routed the field, staying on strongly to win by over 6 lengths. Tell Us More was the strong favourite for the 14:40 Naas, sent off 13/8, but could only finish second behind stable third string Sub Lieutenant. Rule The World, the other Gigginstown runner, was given a delicate ride as he finished back in 4th, and interestingly still holds 3 Cheltenham entries.
The 15:10 and 15:40 favourites both finished outside the places, before Call It Magic – backed from 6/4 this morning to 8/11 – was outstayed by A Genie In Abottle under a clever ride by Bryan Cooper. Punters got their own back in the big race of the day, the Leinster National though – our tip Venitien De Mai was well supported all day (9/2f into 10/3f) and kept finding up in trip to hold off stablemate Goonyella who has enhanced his Grand National claims.
Gigginstown finished off the day with a very impressive win from 5/1 shot Shattered Love in the INH Flat Race – having not been since since being bought after her PTP win last March for €50,000, she travelled like the best horse throughout and pulled away nicely in testing ground to make it a treble on the day for the Gigginstown team who will be looking forward to the Cheltenham Festival.
Ryedale Racer was one of the best backed horses of the day, opening at 11/8 but starting the race at just 4/9. He looked completely in control under Brian Hughes before blundering 2 out and unseating, throwing the race away. Over in France, the hugely respected Blue Dragon – who not only had won 8 of his 9 career starts but destroyed nearly every field he had faced recently – was sent off very short (1/6 SP) to make it 9 from 10 but lost concentration at the last and took off too early. Unable to get his landing gear down, he crashed out leaving favourite backers disappointed.
Richard Johnson has definitely been enjoying life outside the shadow of A P McCoy, and made both his rides at Huntingdon pay. Both Champagne Chaser and Fields Of Glory were very strong in the market (the latter was tipped on our free racing tips page at 7/1 this morning and returned just 5/2f) and made it 209 winners this season at a very impressive 23% strike rate for the champion jockey in waiting.
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