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.”
• UP-AND-COMING apprentice Jack Garritty, who has created a big impression in the last twelve months attached to the Andrew Balding yard has left Kingsclere and has returned to his roots.
“The paperwork has been done,” said Garritty. “I have had two good years with Mr Balding, who has been a great help to me and who has got me going and who has taught me how to present myself properly. I shall always be very grateful to him. But I think this is the right move for me.”
Garritty, who has ridden 21 winners, including 16 this year, has done much of his riding this season in the north. “I have been doing a lot of travelling, but it has been very worthwhile as I have been riding for some good trainers in the north and have built up some good contacts. The way I see it, I am moving from a big yard to an even bigger yard,” said the 5lb claimer, who goes to scale at 7st 7lb and is sponsored by Malton’s White Rose Saddlery.
Fahey said; “Jack rides well, conducts himself well and is keen and light. Things have been going well for him up to now and hopefully, they’ll continue to do so. We’re pleased to have him.”
• JOE DOYLE, apprenticed to Highfield trainer John Quinn, may have had a slow first half of the season, but the teenager is in full flight now.
Having gained the 20th success of his career to reduce his claim to 5lb on the Jenny Candlish-trained Mao Chinn Tire at Thirsk early last week, Doyle rattled-up a further three winners before the week was over. He score on Consistant for Brian Baugh at Leicester, Effervescent, who posted a short-head success at Haydock on behalf of trainer Graeme McPherson and Madrasa, trained by Keith Reveley, who won at Redcar on Sunday. Doyle returned to his native Ireland the following day for his sister’s wedding. Celebrations will have gone with an extra swing after his recent purple patch.
Jake Butterfield is another Ryedale apprentice going well. He won on Kuwait Star at Haydock last Friday and followed-up on Monday evening at Beverley aboard course specialist Jacbequick, trained by his boss, Ollie Pears.
• ENCHANTED GARDEN was richly rewarded for landing his third course success at Market Rasen last Saturday when the Lincolnshire track hosted the richest days’ jumping of the summer season.
The Malcolm Jefferson-trained gelding picked-up a first prize of more than £11,000 for his owner Doreen Davenport when scooting home 13 lengths clear under Brian Hughes in the Betfred Handicap Hurdle.
“He’s a decent little horse, but he can’t cope with heavy ground,” said Jefferson, who added, “I had thought of running him on the Flat at Beverley earlier in the week, but this was a more valuable race. There isn’t a lot of him, but he’s a horse with a big heart.”
• PAUL PICKARD enjoyed a sizeable payday at Newarmarket last Saturday when steering Balty Boys to success in the opening handicap, which carried a first prize of £28,000.
Balty Boys is trained by Brian Ellison, who also saddled Llarnamon Lad in the one-mile event. But the 9-2 favourite could finish only third to Balty Boys, who started at the bumper odds of 16-1 and who provided Pickard with his fourth winner of the season.
• TIM EASTERBY'S high opinion of Mattmu has finally borne fruit.
The Great Habton trainer was frustrated to see the juvenile finish second in all three of his races this season, but Mattmu set the record straight when coming out narrowly on top under David Allan at Haydock last week.
“I’ve always thought a lot about him and it was nice to see him win,” said Easterby, who is planning to aim Mattmu at a couple of jackpot prizes in September and October in the shape of richly-endowed sales races at Doncaster and Redcar, in which he has a good record. “He’ll be a better horse when the ground changes,” added Tim. “He’s crying out for a bit of give in the ground.”
• IT'S a huge day for Paul Hanagan on Saturday when he is reunited with his Oaks-winning heroine Taghrooda in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot. The race carries prize money of no less than £1m.
Hanagan had been preparing to ride Mukhadram, on whom he recently won the Coral-Eclipse, in the King George, but his employer Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, owner of both horses, boldly elected to switch Taghrooda to the King George instead of tackling last Saturday’s Irish Oaks at the Curragh.
Success will be hard earned but if Taghrooda wins it will be the ultimate career highlight for Hanagan, the former Malton-based dual-champion jockey.