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Norton trainer Malcolm Jefferson to make rapid impact at Wetherby
York closed its doors for the season at the weekend, but today it’s the return of Wetherby and the start of an exciting campaign ahead.
The popular course opens its action with a bumper eight-race card supporting Spinal Research and highlighted by the Bobby Renton Handicap Chase, in which Norton trainer Malcolm Jefferson holds a strong hand with a horse who is no stranger to this venue.
Mac Aeda twice won at Wetherby last winter, in December and again in February, and he rounded off a useful season by finishing ninth in the Scottish National at Ayr in April.
Jefferson’s horses have been running well lately and Mac Aeda is reunited with Brian Hughes, who knows him well. A bold bid is anticipated.
Jumping’s most successful jockey Tony McCoy will be a popular attraction at the opening fixture and the perennial champion has winning chances across the card.
He rides newcomer Mississippi Blues in the first division of the novices hurdle, and this well-related gelding should not be overlooked. Likewise, his Jonjo O’Neill-trained stablemate Dursey Sound in the second division. He won in fine style at Uttoxeter recently and may be up to defying a penalty.
McCoy and O’Neill can also lift the Become An Annual Badge Holder Handicap Chase with Temple Lord, who has been running respectably lately and who finished third at Newton Abbott last month. He should not be lacking in fitness.
Cumbrian trainer Nicky Richards has a high opinion of Simply Ned, who makes appeal in the Follow Wetherby Racecourse On Twitter Handicap Hurdle.
The five-year-old won three of his four races last season and looked a potential star before being well beaten at odds-on at Musselburgh in February. The fact that he never appeared again last term after that blip suggests there may have been a slight problem with him, but he’s back now and he remains a horse of considerable potential. Simply Ned is fancied to go well in the hands of Fearghal Davis.
Brian Ellison saddles Quiet Route in the Rachel Wright Memorial Juvenile Hurdle, a race named after the woman who was so instrumental in organising this charity meeting for so long.
Quiet Route showed plenty of promise on his hurdling debut, before falling next time, but he has been given time to get over that setback. He finished fifth on the Flat at Warwick recently and should be primed and ready to go in this two-miler, which last year fell to Tim Walford’s Chadford, a 40-1 shot.
Also worth noting are Minehead raider Imperial Circus (5.00), a 124-rated hurdler trained by Philip Hobbs now going chasing, and the bold-galloping Mr Moonshine (5.30), a good horse over hurdles and fences, who has scored here in the past for Bingley trainer Sue Smith.
At Kempton tomorrow, the all-conquering Richard Hughes, who rode an extraordinary seven winners from eight mounts at Windsor on Monday, looks set to continue his excellent form.
The champion jockey-elect is unlikely to replicate his Windsor feat, but he does have a couple of extra-good chances, aboard Global Icon (7.00) and The Art Of Racing (7.30), a York winner six weeks ago. The form of that race has worked out well – runner-up Heaven’s Guest has since won at Catterick – and The Art Of Racing looks fairly weighted on his handicap debut.
.40 Mississippi Blues, 2.20 Quiet Route, 2.50 Temple Lord, 3.25 Simply Ned, 3.55 Mac Aeda, 4.30 Dursey Sound, 5.00 Imperial Circus, 5.30 Mr Moonshine.
Today’s other meetings: Lingfield and Nottingham.
5.30 Clapped, 6.00 Magical Rose, 6.30 Birdlover, 7.00 Global Icon, 7.30 The Art Of Racing (NAP), 8.00 Kelpie Blitz, 8.30 Spanish Wedding, 9.00 Smart Affair.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Uttoxeter and Wincanton.