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David Nicholls three-handed in bid to win Chapman Memorial
The inaugural running of the David Chapman Memorial Handicap takes place at Ripon this evening and David Nicholls, former stable jockey to the much-missed Stillington trainer, is intent on taking the honours.
Nicholls has three runners in the six furlong dash run in honour of Chapman, for whom he rode numerous winners, most notably top-notch sprinter Soba, who won 13 races with Nicholls in the saddle on every occasion.
Although none of the 15 runners in tonight’s contest are in the same league as Soba, Nicholls is represented by an interesting trio – the once high-class Tax Free, still a force to be reckoned with despite his advancing years, the speedy Fitz Flyer and Bonnie Charlie, whose fifth-placed effort at Ayr last month was an eye-catching performance.
Crack Irish jockey Fran Berry will be aboard Bonnie Charlie this time, and his booking may be significant. My vote goes to the six-year-old but Nicholls will be happy to win this particular race with any of his three runners.
Tim Easterby has his string in excellent heart and the Great Habton trainer can hit the mark with Choisan in the SIS Live Handicap over two miles.
The three-year-old is nothing if not consistent and was also a course winner earlier in the season. He looks sure to go well under David Allan.
Silvestre de Sousa can take the opening honours on Darkening in the Silks And Saddles Bar Maiden Stakes.
Trained for Godolphin by Mahmood Al Zarooni, Darkening shaped well to finish fourth on his debut and promises to be hard to beat this time.
Kevin Ryan and his jockey-daughter Amy have strong claims in the Constant Security Services Nursery with Projectisle, while Ralph Beckett has a progressive performer on his hands in Astra Hall, who bids for a hat-trick in the Washroom Company Handicap under bottom weight, courtesy of the weight-for-age allowance.
Tomorrow at Pontefract, Bapak Pesta, the mount of Phillip Makin, can also oblige for trainer Ryan, who introduced the juvenile at Thirsk recently.
Bapak Pesta finished fifth in what looked a hot maiden race over five furlongs, doing all his best work in the closing stages. That experience, plus this extra furlong, puts Bapak Pesta in with a rock solid chance and he is napped to come out on top.
Thirsk trainer Geoff Harker is enjoying a good run and Sabhan should go well for him in the Big Fellas Nightclub Handicap. Two wins and a good second at Sandown last time is the sum total of Sabhan’s season. Opportunity could come knocking here.
Also worth noting is Sir Graham Wade in the Family Day On Sunday 19th August Handicap.
Winner of his last two starts, at Haydock and Goodwood last week, Sir Graham Wade represents Mark Johnston, who has returned to form with a vengeance. He had no less than seven winners at Glorious Goodwood and followed up at Chester on Sunday with Van Ellis in the Listed sprint.
6.05 Darkening, 6.35 Projectisle, 7.05 Astra Hall, 7.35 Bonnie Charlie, 8.05 Choisan, 8.05 Zanotti.
Today’s other meetings
Bath, Catterick, Kempton and Wolverhampton.
2.30 Skyfire, 3.00 Bapak Pesta (NAP), 3.30 Sabhan, 4.00 Sir Graham Wade, 4.30 Sunny Side Up, 5.00 Talent Scout, 5.30 Charity Box.
Tomorrow’s other meetings
Brighton, Newcastle, Kempton and Yarmouth.