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Schinken Otto proves age is no barrier
AGE doesn’t matter when the spirit is strong. Schinken Otto may be in the twilight of his career, but the veteran Ryedale chaser is still capable of showing his junior rivals how it should be done.
At Sedgefield last week, the 12-year-old ran out a decisive winner of the two-mile handicap chase to overcome ground more testing than he prefers and gain a 7-2 success as he extended his love affair with the undulating circuit.
It was Schinken Otto’s sixth course victory in a career which has seen him score 10 times over fences and twice on the Flat but, remarkably, never over hurdles.
Racing over the smaller obstacles never quite worked for the Malcolm Jefferson-trained gelding who drew a blank in 16 races over hurdles.
All that changed, however, when he won his first chase at Uttoxeter in June 2006, courtesy of a short-head triumph in the hands of Graham Lee.
Schinken Otto, whose first-ever appearance on a racecourse had been in a Flat maiden at Newcastle in 2003 under no less a jockey than Paul Hanagan, has become very much part of the furniture at Jefferson’s Newstead yard.
Owner John Donald said: “He’s been a brilliant horse. But I won’t mention retirement, because the last time I did, I got told off by Mr Jefferson.”
Winning rider Harry Haynes, who has now scored twice on Schinken Otto, said: “He’s a smashing old horse and he’s some spin around Sedgefield because he knows the course so well.”
It’s just as well because the old-timer lost his footing turning for home and stumbled badly.
“I felt him go and think he just took a false step on the ground, which was very cut up,” said Ryedale rider Haynes.
“To his credit, he didn’t lose much momentum and he was soon back tanking along again. But that’s probably because he’s such a professional.”
Schinken Otto will doubtless be back at Sedgefield’s next meeting. It wouldn’t be the same without him. He’s now raced there 21 times.
JOHN QUINN, who has handed impressive Wetherby winner Hidden Justice the options of travelling to Chepstow or Ascot this weekend – weather permitting, of course – has introduced another talented member of his young hurdling squad.
Calculated Risk made a winning debut at Doncaster last week at the rewarding odds of 14-1 – and revived happy memories of his half-brother, who enjoyed a superb hurdling career with Quinn half a dozen years ago.
Kings Quay won the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton, Market Rasen’s Summer Hurdle and also a Listed handicap at Aintree’s Grand National meeting for the Norton trainer who, consequently, was more than keen to acquire his sibling when he came up for sale at Tattersalls at Newmarket last October.
Previously trained by Willie Musson, Calculated Risk changed hands for 25,000 guineas and, from what he showed last week on his first hurdling experience in public, he looks a smart buy.
Winning jockey Dougie Costello was certainly impressed. He said: “He jumps, he travels and he stays. From the back of the second last, I always felt he’d win. He’s from a good family, which produced Kings Quay and he’s a nice horse.”
Hidden Justice had likewise made a winning debut at Wetherby’s Christmas meeting, showing a liking for testing ground as he came clear in the closing stages to win decisively.
Quinn is considering the gelding for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, but if the weather relents and Ascot and Chepstow get the green light, Hidden Justice could well take in a second outing this weekend.
A trip to Scotland early next month might well be on the agenda for Quinn’s leading young hope, Kashmir Peak, one of the leading fancies for the Triumph Hurdle after winning both his races to date, including a Grade 2 contest at Doncaster last month.
The Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial has been pencilled in for Kashmir Peak who, come Cheltenham, will be aiming to follow in the hoofprints of stablemate Countrywide Flame, who won last year’s Triumph Hurdle for Quinn.
LEASE LEND may just have failed to enhance his course record at Wetherby last Saturday, but trainer Tim Easterby still entered the winners’ circle, thanks to Fourjacks, who made his first appearance over fences a winning one.
Given a superb introduction to the major obstacles by veteran jockey Brian Harding, Fourjacks had looked up against it in a race which featured the David Pipe-trained favourite Poole Master. But the Ryedale gelding dug deep from the third last and wore down Poole Master on the run-in to win by a thrilling length.
“He’s a lovely horse and always has been,” said Easterby, who trains Fourjacks for jumping stalwart Trevor Hemmings, an owner who has twice won the Grand National.
“He’d jumped fences well at home, if a bit careful, but that’s not a bad thing. We could have stayed over hurdles with him a while longer, but he’s eight now and it was about time he went chasing. We’ve always thought of him as a chaser in the making.”
Lease Lend, a three-time Wetherby winner, looked sure to provide Easterby with a double when quickening clear approaching the final fence in the feature two miles handicap chase, but an untimely mistake, followed by a tame finish, saw him reeled in and beaten into second by Dunowen Point.
“I don’t know what happened at the last. He seemed to step at it a bit, and then he got run out of it,” said Easterby. “Mind, he’s still run a good race.”
The Easterby horses are in good form. At Wolverhampton on Monday, he was on the mark with sprinter Hazard Warning, who prevailed by a head under Duran Fentiman to provide the Ryedale jockey with his first winner of 2013.
FENTARA would have been excused if a crashing fall at the final fence at Catterick last month had affected her confidence. But there was no sign of it at Kelso last Sunday when the Ryedale mare produced a virtually foot perfect round of jumping to score an easy triumph.
Again partnered by last season’s Grand National-winning jockey, Daryl Jacobs, Fentara, trained by Tim Walford, started at cramped odds and won like an odds-on favourite should – by a wide margin.
“All credit to her, the fall at Catterick never bothered her. She ate up that night and was bucking and kicking out in the paddock the following morning,” said Sheriff Hutton-based Walford, who was further delighted with her Kelso display.
“Except for a tiny mistake at the last, she jumped brilliantly. It was great.”
Walford, who was saddling his first jumping winner since May, has high hopes that Fentara will bid for a major prize in the spring.
“She’s got several options,” he explained. “There’s the EBF Chase Final at Sandown, the Kim Muir or the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.”
THERE was more to the recent success of Shadows Lengthen than meets the eye. His Sedgefield victory enabled the Ryedale gelding to complete racing’s ‘full set’, winning on the Flat, over hurdles and over fences.
Mick Easterby’s versatile gelding ran out a 2-1 winner of the novice chase, winning by seven lengths and adding a fencing victory to his two hurdles triumphs and the six races he rattled up on the Flat, all on an all-weather surface.
PAUL HANAGAN, spending his first winter riding in Dubai, has made a flying start in the Middle East.
Last week’s opening day of the richly-endowed Festival saw the former Malton champion ride a 50-1 winner for his boss, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. Partnering Fityaan in the five-furlong handicap, Hanagan produced the speedster late and fast to take the honours on Meydan racecourse.
The following day, Hanagan was in action on the Jebel Ali circuit and again figured among the winners, this time aboard the odds-on Haatheq.
FOLLOWERS of the local fraternity on the all-weather Flat circuit have been rewarded with two long-priced winners.
Norton trainer Brian Ellison sent out 25-1 shot Al Freej to win at Lingfield last weekend on the same day as Ryedale jockey Dale Swift posted a 33-1 success at Wolverhampton on Romanticize, trained by Jason Ward.
Richard Fahey’s horses continue to go well. His latest successes include Tanghaan (Tom Eaves) at Lingfield, and Mica Mika (Barry McHugh) and Polar Kite (Tony Hamilton) at Wolverhampton, where Mick Easterby continues to clock up the winners. The Sheriff Hutton trainer sent out Ivestar to gain a narrow triumph under Jimmy Sullivan.
TWO Ryedale apprentices have departed to the US for a work-riding stint aimed at increasing their skills for the forthcoming Flat turf season.
Daryl Byrne, who is attached to the Tim Easterby yard, and Jason Hart, who works for Sledmere trainer Declan Carroll, left for California last Sunday.
“We’re going to be there a month and will be riding track-work every day,” explained Byrne. “It’s all done a bit differently over there. You ride work against the clock, so it’s going to be a good learning experience.”