‘Ninja’ to supplement recent gains for the in-form Shaw yard!

Mr Ginja Ninja has an outstanding opportunity to gain much-needed ‘winning brackets’ in a fourteen-runner Nursery Handicap over five furlongs of Southwell tapeta this afternoon and victory for the vexing Coach House gelding would be a sentimental ‘time’ reminder of my old warrior, multi-raced course winner Elton Ledger.

Derek Shaw trains Mr Ginja Ninja whose box is close to the one occupied by ‘Elton’ twenty-five years ago at the same Grantham stables where the late, great Norma Macauley held the licence for decades.

From the moment he walked into that famous yard, just a few miles down the road from where we live, ‘the big fella’ thrived, as so many thoroughbreds do when leaving Newmarket where he was trained by Alex Scott who, tragically, was murdered by his stud groom!

Elton Ledger won a seller at Southwell and I bid successfully for him, less than £4000; representing Scott was Ed Dunlop, now established in the famous Cambridgeshire town.

I recall Scott being angry on the phone and Dunlop, son of Arundel-based ‘legend’ John, cowering awkwardly in the face of an explosive expletive tirade by which time he was mine!

Within minutes I’d formed ‘The Posse’, a group of four and the rest is history; Elton Ledger won SEVENTEEN RACES at the Nottinghamshire venue and it was disappointing earlier this month when the Southwell executive didn’t see fit to commemorate his fantastic, unassailable track record at the launching of tapeta which replaced fibresand. THe infamous ‘deep stuff’ is now consigned to memories!

Owning a serial winner was tremendous, almost comparable to seeing my colours carried by the actual fastest two-year-old of 1984, Cragside, when beaten a head by Doulab in the group race at Ascot named the Cornwallis Stakes; but for the jockey ‘showboating’ and losing his whip in the closing stages, which cost him at least a length, ‘Craggy’ would have been guaranteed a stud career. I got him back three years later and won races at Sandown and Newbury. Placing was my game.

Mr Ginja Ninja will never aspire to such heights but he’s genuine and consistent, deserving of success under Cam Hardie in an extremely shallow dash. Derek’s yard is currently firing on all cylinders and he landed a gamble on the new surface last week. 

Rest of the programme is difficult but both Return Fire and Hector Master should gain placings in set-weight hurdles around Kelso.      

Selections, Kelso, 12.07 Return Fire (e.w); 3.00 Hector Master (e.w); Southwell, 3.55 Mr Ginja Ninja (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