Subject: Barron to produce the ‘Gentle’ touch!

Gentle Ellen probably went into every punters’ notebook after finishing second on debut at Carlisle twenty-four days ago; they wont need reminding David Barron’s charge will be attempting to go one better in division one of a Fillies’ Novices’ Stakes over six furlongs on ‘good’ Pontefract ground this afternoon.

A 12/1 shot, drawn nine (of ten!), this Bungle Inthejungle juvenile was soon urged along but at halfway the penny dropped and Gentle Elenn finished with a flourish under excellent Northern-based jockey Jason Hart,  beaten only a head by well-backed Wee Loch Lass, subsequently ‘dobbed’ a similar distance in a valuable ‘seller’ at Goodwood.

Wee Loch Lass represents a genuine form line, hitherto luckless in close finishes, and the time-handicap mark achieved on the Lake District venue definitely meets criteria for a solid betting proposition, especially trained by Barron, arguably as good as anyone through decades.

Now, like so many veterans, including myself, David lacks the energy to withstand rigours of a ‘full on’ training schedule but has recently enjoyed a resurgence; no one ever placed thoroughbreds better even though I matched him in the early days of the all-weather scene at Southwell.

We were bitter rivals during the sensational ‘Elton Ledger’ years but I’ve always respected Barron’s fiercely-competitive attitude and this column’s archive is littered by past winners trained at his Thirsk establishment.

Almohandesah, also second first-up and from Karl Burke’s in-form yard, is an obvious danger and will probably be favourite, being ridden by Tom Marquand, but I’ll be disappointed if Connor Beasley doesn’t steer Gentle Ellen into the winners’ enclosure where, hopefully, twice-raced Qwicken will carry Ben Robinson half an hour later after division two.

Qwicken, heavily-backed into favouritism, was fourth, beaten less than two lengths, to Wee Loch Lass and Gentle Ellen!

The result of the first leg will obviously impact on starting prices and an each-way double will be my play, whatever the odds.

Heavy rainstorms last Friday obviously reached Hexham where Lanty Slea has an excellent chance in an intriguing competitive eleven-runner Maiden Hurdle over two and a half miles of a ‘good to soft’ surface; what a race, highlight of the day for us summer-jumping aficionados. 

Incidentally over-watering was to blame for much chaos last week; three of my four winning naps were on all-weather tarcks!    

Selections, Pontefract, 1.45 Gentle Ellen; 2.15 Qwicken (e.w); 4.15 Lanty Slea (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