RYEDALE trainer Paul Midgley, enjoying a golden summer with his sprinters, heads to York this weekend with high hopes that Line Of Reason can strike it rich yet again.
Midgley has already placed the gelding to win three times this season, which included a never-to-be-forgotten Irish raid which saw Line Of Reason hit the jackpot at the Curragh on Irish Derby Day by lifting the Paddy Power Scurry Handicap, which carried a 100,000 euros purse.
Since then Line Of Reason has added a further triumph in a York handicap, with a first prize of more than £12,000, with the result that his rating has shot from 80 to 99. Come Saturday, and the target is the £50,000 SkyBet Dash, followed by a trip to Glorious Goodwood and a crack at the 32Red Stewards’ Cup.
“He’s got to step forward again in his next two races,” says his trainer. “If he does, happy days, the dream continues. If he doesn’t and he’s a 99-rated horse, that’s no bad thing anyway, but I would like to think there is more to come from him.”
Success on Saturday would be something extra-special for Midgley, a former journeyman jump jockey, who has worked his socks off to make a success of training from his Westow yard, supported by his parents Tim and Wendy and his partner Wendy Gibson.
“For me, his main objective is the SkyBet Dash. I’m a Yorkshireman and I love York; it’s the best racecourse in the country. In the early days, it was great just to have a runner there, and for a Yorkshireman to have a winner there is fantastic.”
A dry, sunny week right up until Saturday afternoon will be heaven-sent for Midgley. Line Of Reason is at his best under such conditions. “He loves fast ground,” says Paul. “He can travel well enough on soft ground, but he just can’t quicken on it, which is unbelievable for one by Kheleyf, because his stock normally want some cut in the ground.”
Competition to Line Of Reason on Saturday will be fierce. More than likely the finish of such a tight six furlong handicap will be decided by minor margins. Midgley, who took his domestic tally to 19 winners – equalling last year’s total score when Another Wise Kid won the feature sprint at Pontefract last Friday night - is looking forward to the challenge with his stable star.
“It’s what this game is all about,” he says, “having horses good enough to go the big meetings.”