Eileendover, sensational, unchallenged winner of three ‘bumpers’ under National Hunt rules last season before losing out in the highly-prestigious National Hunt flat race at the Grand National meeting, was my idea of the major attraction on a six-race programme at Haydock, Saturday evening, when a creditable second to Yesyes over twelve furlongs of a ‘soft’ surface around the left-handed Lancashire course. Her first ‘flat’ outing.
Veteran trainer Pam Sly, a good friend, had no great expectations for the Canford Cliffs mare given weight conditions disadvantaged her four-year-old, owned in partnership with brother, Michael; Eileendover carried ten stone, 17lbs more than the Juddomonte-owned winner, a three-year-old Ralph Beckett-trained Camelot filly making a belated debut and, significantly, a heavily-backed second favourite.
Shane Kelly set a modest gallop before ‘setting sail’ three furlongs out which quickly sorted out the wheat from the chaff; unfortunately Yesyes had no problem with the change of gear, sauntered through to lead two out and stayed on well for a two and quarter lengths success. She could be anything.
Given the savage weight difference represents at least eight lengths on a demanding surface Eileendover produced a herculean effort and now comes the task of finding a suitable winning opportunity; staying maidens are difficult to find and Pam was right beforehand when stating ‘one of those three-year-olds will probably be too good at the weights!’
My advice will be to drop back in trip, engage a prolific 5lbs apprentice and wait until the right slot becomes available for a mare which we know can be made a deal fitter; watch this space.
Also of interest was Korker, flat out to justify odds of 4/7 in a maiden over five furlongs at Carlisle; after computing race-times I’m convinced the form is solid and that nowadays it’s virtually impossible to find ‘easy’ juvenile races anywhere, anymore. Follow the first five next time.
No flat-racing today but three jumping fixtures offer good chances of profit with Fivetotwelve a ‘stand out’ each-way selection for an eleven-runner Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles of ‘good’ Uttoxeter, a favourite course for serious punting.
Fivetotwelve is the only time-handicap danger to forecast-favourite Could Be Trouble, penalised for success at Ayr four weeks ago; talented conditional jockey Lewis Stones claims the 7lbs allowance on my selection which should weigh heavily against relatively weak rivalry.
Drake’s Well and Trailboss should win the opening races at Fontwell and Kelso respectively.‘Fivetotwelve’ is expected to be right on time!
Selections, Fontwell, 1.50 Drake’s Well; Kelso, 1.57 Trailboss; Uttoxeter, 3.22 Fivetotwelve (e.w).
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019