O’Meara prospect should succeed at Catterick

Trainer Mark Johnston

Trainer Mark Johnston

First published in Sport
Last updated
Gazette & Herald: Photograph of the Author by , Racing journalist

LORD OF THE NILE, trained in Ireland last season by Dermot Weld, but now with David O'Meara in North Yorkshire, can win his first race at his fourth attempt at Catterick this evening.

Unplaced in two outings last term, Lord Of The Nile, owned by Sir Robert Ogden, shaped well on his debut for O'Meara at Ripon last month when finishing second to hot favourite Yenhaab after setting a strong gallop from the outset.

It is likely that Danny Tudhope will adopt similar tactics tonight in the Book Now For 30th May Maiden Stakes over one furlong less. He should take plenty of catching and is napped to lead from pillar to post.

Norton trainer Tony Coyle saddles three of the 11 runners in the Don't Miss Saturday 24th May Handicap and Keep It Dark is preferred to his stablemates Lost In Paris and Thatcherite.

The mount of regular jockey Barry McHugh, Keep It Dark, who carries the colours of York owner Noel Hetherton, just missed out to Fleurtille at Newcastle last week after being headed in the dying strides. That winner takes him on again here, but has a 6lb penalty to carry which gives Keep It Dark - admittedly not the easiest of horses to win with - the chance to take his revenge.

Mark Johnston may hold the key to the Yorkshire-outdoors.co.uk Adventure Activities Handicap with Kosika, the mount of Joe Fanning.

The four-year-old has raced only three times in her life. A winner on her only juvenile outing, she finished unplaced in the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial at Meydan in Dubai last year before being off until the end of last month when she finished third and failed by less than a length to win at Brighton. Off a mark of 73, she can surely win a race or two.

The Go Racing In Yorkshire Handicap over two miles is the longest race on the card and Cropley commands plenty of respect.

Ian Williams' gelding was denied by only a nose in a similar contest at Chepstow last week and provided this event does not come too quickly for him, he should make a bold bid to make amends.

The speedily-bred Smart Stepper (6.00) is an interesting newcomer from Micheal Dods' Darlington stable in the opening juvenile race, while Brian Ellison's War Poet (6.30) is weighted to win the claimer under Dale Swift.

At Kempton, Paul Hanagan can figure on the scoresheet with a double aboard Wohja and Kafeel.

Trained by William Haggas, Wojha made her debut in a maiden at Newbury last month and shaped well, despite being sent off favourite, to finish sixth to Evita Peron. She can step up on that performance, provided she handles this artificial surface, in the Breeders Backing Racing Maiden Fillies' Stakes.

Kafeel, who runs in the Follow @BetVictorRacing On Twitter Handicap, made his debut at York last October and showed plenty of promise to finish fourth. He went some way to fulfilling that promise when winning at Lingfield before the month was over and looks the type to progress in handicap company this season for trainer Roger Varian.

Oisin Murphy, red-hot favourite to become champion apprentice this season, also has double claims at the meeting.

Murphy can score on Eugene Stanford's The Happy Hammer (3.10), returning from a short break but a previous course winner, and Wonder Weapon (3.00), who looks a decent prospect in the making. Trained by Andrew Balding, Murphy's boss, Wonder Weapon broke his maiden at his first attempt on this course and went down by only half a length to Anglo Irish in handicap company on his second start last month. There is more to come from him.

Catterick today

6.00 Smart Stepper, 6.30 War Poet, 7.00 Lord Of The Nile (NAP), 7.30 Kosika, 8.00 Cropley, 8.30 Keep It Dark.

Kempton today

2.10 Littlemissblakeney, 2.40 Despot, 3.10 The Happy Hammer, 3.40 Wonder Weapon, 4.10 Wojha, 4.40 High Time Too, 5.10 Kafeel.

Today's other meetings

Brighton, Exeter and Fakenham.

Tomorrow's meetings

Brighton, Chester, Kelso, Kempton and Worcester.

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