Friday, 3 September 2010
MCMAHON HOPES TO STORM DONCASTER’S LADBROKES ST LEGER FESTIVAL 2010
ED McMAHON is enjoying a purple patch with Astrophysical Jet’s Group Three triumph in Ireland the pick of four winners in the last 12 days and the Staffordshire trainer is hoping another of his speedsters can continue the good run at Doncaster’s four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival next week.
Noble Storm is one of 22 sprinters entered at the six-day stage for the £40,000 Listed Scarbrough Stakes (3.10pm) over five furlongs on the opening day, Wednesday, September 8, and could also get an entry in the historic £80,000 Ladbrokes Portland Handicap over an extra 140 yards on the final day, Saturday, September 11.
McMahon revealed today: “The Scarbrough Stakes is a possibility but we could yet decide to run Noble Storm in the Ladbrokes Portland on Saturday. Those are the two options at this stage.”
The four-year-old progressed through the handicap ranks last season, rising from a mark of 89 to 105 when finishing runner-up to Spin Cycle in the Listed Rous Stakes over five furlongs at Newmarket on his final outing in 2009.
Sickness has curtailed his progress this year in a campaign that has been restricted to three starts. A four-month lay-off followed his seasonal return in April but a decent third at Nottingham on August 10 preceded his latest outing when eighth in the Listed Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes over the distance on August 28.
The trainer continued: “He had a virus over the winter and I just wanted to give him plenty of time to get over it. You just have to be patient so we’re hoping he’s gradually coming back.
“Star Rover of David Evans won a conditions race at Leicester the other day and Noble Storm finished in front of him at Nottingham on his second run of the year, but he has not quite fired on all cylinders yet. He performed okay when beaten under four lengths in the Beverley Bullet last time but I don’t feel that he’s quite finishing his races yet.
“If you look at his best form, it’s at courses with an easy five furlongs, places like Goodwood and York. Beverley’s a stiff five and he’s always been collared near the line in Listed races there, so an easier five at Doncaster will suit him better.
“He goes on any ground, he’s a genuine type of horse and the ground is not an issue with him.”
Beverley Bullet Stakes form is well represented with the victorious Mister Hughie, runner-up Prohibit and third-placed Captain Dunne among those entered.
The Dandy Nicholls-trained Tax Free was runner-up to the McMahon-trained Astrophysical Jet in the Goffs Flying Five at the Curragh on August 29, while the seventh that day, Moorhouse Lad from the Bryan Smart yard, was third in the 2008 Scarbrough Stakes.
Jeremy Noseda saddled Strike The Deal to win last year’s Scarbrough Stakes from the Smart-trained Spin Cycle and the trainer could run Group Therapy, who was half a length second to Borderlescott in the Group Three Audi King George Stakes over the distance at Goodwood on July 29.
The Tim Etherington-trained Burning Thread is seeking a hat-trick after holding Reignier to land the Listed Scurry Stakes over five furlongs at Sandown on June 12.
The Kevin Ryan-trained nine-year-old Benbaun landed the Group One Prix de l’Abbaye in 2007, while Look Busy from the Alan Berry yard defeated Borderlescott to win the Group Two Temple Stakes in 2009.
The quality seven-race card also features the £25,000 Wilson Field Neurocare Conditions Stakes (4.20pm) over an extended 10 furlongs, a race which this seasons’ Group One Eclipse Stakes winner Twice Over annexed en route to clinching the Group One Emirates Airline Champion Stakes last October.
There are 17 entries for the contest, including Godolphin’s Group One Racing Post Trophy third Al Zir, the Michael Bell-trained Grade One Secretariat Stakes runner-up Wigmore Hall and Group Two Prix Guillaume D’Ornano third Black Spirit from the Clive Cox yard.
Another exciting highlight is the £10,000 Fudge And Smudge Leger Legends Handicap (3.45pm) over a mile, which sees retired stars of the weighing room, both Flat and Jump, competing against each other to raise funds for the Injured Jockeys’ Fund and the Northern Racing College.
Among those climbing back in the plate are John Francome, Peter Scudamore, Pat Eddery, George Duffield, Charlie Swan, Graham Bradley and Kevin Darley.
The Ladbrokes St Leger Festival kicks off earlier that afternoon with the £15,000 Arena Structures Nursery Handicap (2pm) over seven furlongs and also includes the £16,500 AJ Webb & Son Fresh Produce Suppliers Conditions Stakes (2.35pm) over six furlongs, the seven-furlong £20,000 Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Handicap (4.50pm) and the £10,500 2010 Launch Stratstone Land Rover Doncaster Handicap (5.20pm) over five furlongs.
LATEST GOING AT DONCASTER
Doncaster clerk of the course David Williams reported today: “The going is good to firm at present. There is no rain forecast and prior to today we have had 16 millimetres in the past three and a half weeks.
“We have had a very dry year and the outlook is for more dry weather with bright, sunny days, apart from this weekend when it could be more overcast. There is a slight chance that we might see a patchy, light shower or two on Monday.
“I’m hoping to maintain the ground by watering as good to firm, good in places - the quicker side of good or the easier side of good to firm will be ideal.”
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