It is no secret that Paddy Power has been frustrating. We really liked him as a two-year-old and had high hopes but he just didn’t show on the racecourse what we were seeing at home. It does feel now that a year on the penny may have finally dropped. He put in a good performance at the Curragh to finish second last month and he went one better at Chelmsford to break his maiden tag. Hopefully this is the start of a good season for him.
Dolphin Vista made the most of a good draw to win the ‘Cock O’ The North Handicap’ at Ripon. He was drawn two and bounced out to make the running. He was always travelling strongly and didn’t mind the heavy ground. He kept on well and went on to win by half a length. A great win for owner Mr Nasib who was watching from Oman.
It was a great start for Arctic Feeling who won on his seasonal reappearance at Beverley. The 8-year-old always does well in big handicaps and the handicapper probably had the better of him last season. He’s come back down to a winning mark and loved the soft ground. He has a great partnership with jockey Sammy Jo Bell and the pair managed to find some racing room on the far rail. When she asked Arctic to pick up he obliged and they stayed on to win the feature race by half a length.
On just his second ride back since suffering a bad injury seven months ago George Chaloner rode Imshivalla to victory at Redcar. George suffered three fractures to his foot and two to his ankle when cantering a horse at Richard Whitaker’s yard in October. It’s been a long road to recovery and it was great to see him back in the winners enclosure. Imshivalla loved the soft ground and when they hit the front they were never going to be caught, winning by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
It was great to have our first two-year-old winner of the season. Cullingworth was disappointing at Wolverhampton on his first start and he was the outsider of the field at Redcar. His first run must have done him the world of good as he knew his job under Tony Hamilton. They tracked the leaders and started to chase down the leader Merry Banter inside the final furlong. He stayed on well in very testing ground and got up to win by by half a length.
Bahamian Sunshine finished second on his last two starts and went one better at Leicester. He’s a quirky horse and took quite a keen hold. He was in the lead four furlongs from home but was challenged by the favourite Broughtons Fancy. When jockey Adam McNamara asked him to pick up again he veered left badly hampering the favourite. We stayed on to win by three and a half lengths. There was a stewards enquiry but we kept the race. Well done to owners the Fairweather Foursome.
We had our first turf winner of the year at Pontefract when Stamp Hill battled hard for victory. He sat in mid division and started to make a challenge over a furlong out. He took up the lead under jockey Tony Hamilton but was pushed all the way by Candelisa. The pair battled to the line and Stamp Hill showed a great attitude to win by a head for owners Merchants and Missionaries.
Bayan Kasirga showed a great attitude to win at Wolverhampton. She tracked the leaders and started to make an impression three furlongs from home. She made headway inside the final furlong and hit the lead. She had to battle to the line under jockey Sammy Jo Bell, they were challenged late on by the favourite Sbraase. A photo was needed to separate them but Bayan Kasirga won by a head.
Gabrial The Terror came back in to training in January after a 178 day break. In his first four runs he seemed to be finding his feet again and he had been dropped to a reasonable mark. He was always travelling well under jockey Tony Hamilton at Wolverhampton and when he hit the front he kept on strongly to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
Alben Star loves winning on Championship Finals Day at Lingfield. He won the sprint in 2014 on the first ever Good Friday meeting, he was second last year and he won again yesterday. There was a fast pace and Alben was held up by jockey David Nolan in the middle of the field. He challenged inside the final furlong and produced a devastating turn of foot to power clear and win by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
It was another great day for owners Mick Scaife and Kenny Shannon, they picked up £93,375 in prize money and Alben Star’s career earnings now total upwards of £310,000.