DAVID O’MEARA, who pipped Richard Fahey on the line in the race for the trainers’ championship at the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival, which ended at Pontefract last Sunday, is aiming to saddle his highly-regarded speedster G Force at Goodwood this weekend.
The Betfred King George Stakes is the target for the exciting three-year-old, winner of his first two races this season and runner-up to Take Cover at York on his latest start as he aims to book his place in the line-up for next month’s Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes back on Knavesmire.
G Force will not be alone in hoisting the Ryedale flag in Friday’s King George. Paul Midgley has booked Tom Queally to ride the high-class Monsieur Joe in this Group 3 contest, while Geoff Oldroyd is preparing to saddle his stable star Ladies Are Forever, who underlined her well-being when winning the Summer Stakes at York on her latest start - her third win in the Group 3 contest in the last four years.
Fast ground is a must for Ladies Are Forever, so Oldroyd is hoping for a dry week on behalf of Reg Bond’s admirable mare.
O’Meara’s title-clincher in the Yorkshire Festival was Custom Cut, whose Listed win at Pontefract last Sunday enabled him to inch past Richard Fahey, who had led most of the way through the nine-day festival, sponsored by Sky Bet.
Custom Cut was given an excellent ride by David Nolan, who had also been aboard O’Meara’s York winner Alejandro the previous day.
Nolan, who has bagged some decent prizes this term, is now up to 18 winners for the year, well on course to better last year’s tally of 23 successes.
As for O’Meara, he is blazing the trail in his bid to successfully defend his status as leading trainer at York, which he won in 2013. Also successful at Knavesmire on Friday evening with Anderiego, the Nawton trainer has now saddled eight York winners this season.
• ALBEN STAR, who clinched a £100,000 prize at Lingfield in the spring, is on the trail of another bumper pay-day at Goodwood on Saturday.
The Richard Fahey-trained sprinter, who has been in the form of his life this year, will bid for the £100,000 32Red Stewards’ Cup on behalf of Richard Fahey after a brace of sterling efforts in defeat.
Fourth behind his stablemate Baccarat in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot, Alben Star occupied the same position in the valuable Paddy Power Scurry Handicap at the Curragh one week later,but was considered a most unlucky loser by jockey Joseph O’Brien after suffering major traffic problems during the race. Rich compensation now awaits, though, with 27 rivals, it won’t be easy.
Fahey has a strong team heading to Glorious Goodwood, where he had two winners last year, with Angel Gabrial having the option of the Group 2 Goodwood Cup after his Northumberland Plate triumph, Gabrial’s Kaka being lined up for a tilt at the Betfred Mile and Redcar winner Home Cummins set to make her handicap bow in the Telegraph Nursery.
Brian Ellison, meanwhile, has decided not to run Racy, who picked-up a £29,000 first prize at Ascot last Sunday, in the 32Red Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood on Saturday.
The gelding carried Paul Pickard to an impressive success in his latest outing over five furlongs. But it had been a different story 24 hours earlier when he finished nearer last than first after running too freely.
Racy also ran freely after winning on Sunday. “He did a circuit of the track before he pulled-up, so I can’t run him again at Goodwood; it would be too soon,” said Ellison. “He’ll probably go to York next month and then to Doncaster for the Portland Handicap.”
• KRISTIN STUBBS, highly satisfied after saddling a dozen winners in her first season with a training licence last year, is setting the bar considerably higher this time around.
The Norton handler equalled her opening score earlier this week when Gold Beau scored at Ayr to make it two wins in his last three starts.
“To get twelve winners before August 1 is great,” said Stubbs. “The horses have been running well all year, which is what matters, and they are still in good form. Gold Beau is one of those horses who likes to jump (out of the stalls) and run, and he got an easy lead at Ayr, which suited him.”
Stubbs was particularly pleased to see Arundale’s colours carried to success again. “Dave is great. He had horses with my mum previously and is very enthusiastic. He likes to come up to the gallops to watch the horses work, and he even cuts my lawn.”
Gold Beau was ridden to victory by Jake Butterfield, who has a fine record on the Stubbs horses, and who is also doing well for his boss, Ollie Pears, Kristin’s next-door neighbour.
Pears provided Butterfield with two winners last week in Beverley specialist Jacbequick and Al Khan, who won at Carlisle, which took the 5lb claimer’s tally for the season to 15 winners, just six short of his total score for 2014.
• MICK EASTERBY may have returned home to Sheriff Hutton from York last Saturday with yet another Knavesmire winner, but he had the added bonus of picking-up a tie and cufflinks into the bargain.
The tie came courtesy of the racecourse after the veteran trainer arrived at York dressed in a casual open-necked shirt, but without the obligatory neckwear.
The cufflinks were presented to Easterby as a prize after Itlaaq had gained a slender success in the staying race, though he certainly wouldn’t have needed them on Saturday with his short sleeves.
“I’ve been ill all week, so this has perked me up,” said Easterby as he laughed and joked with well-wishers in the York winners’ enclosure before giving a hug to jockey Kieren Fallon. “Brilliant ride,” he added.
Bill Tinning, a former trainer, who lives only a few miles from Easterby, had bought a share in Itlaaq only three days earlier.
• RYEDALE apprentices are enjoying a cracking time - far and wide.
Among the success stories lately are Joe Doyle, continuing his purple patch on Tinseltown for popular Norton trainer Brian Rothwell, Sammy-Jo Bell, who gave Arctic Feeling a peach of a ride to win at York last Friday night and George Chaloner, who maintained his winning run at Leicester.
Rachel Richardson, whose stylish success on Captain Dunne contributed to a treble for Tim Easterby at Thirsk last Friday, got in on the act along with Jack Garritty, who rode his first winner for his new boss Richard Fahey on Thirsk scorer Vimy Ridge at Thirsk and Neil Farley, victorious at Pontefract and Ayr on successive days.
That’s not forgetting reigning champion apprentice Jason Hart, who completed an Ayr double on Monday.