WARWICK stages its second meeting of the new season on Thursday, when its Down Under Raceday gets underway at 2pm, with good going forecast for the six-race card, writes David Hucker.
In addition to the racing, there will be Australian inspired entertainment, including music, a quiz and a didgeridoo workshop. The theme is the idea of general manager, Andre Klein, who spent 16 years working in the racing industry in New Zealand and Australia before taking over at Warwick late last year.
Trainer Charlie Longsdon was in double-winning form at last week’s seasonal opener and he could land the day’s feature race, the Colliers International Rating Division Handicap Chase over three miles, with course winner Ready Token, who put plenty of daylight between himself and his rivals when last here in May.
He has to overcome a 12lb rise in the weights for that win, but may still prove too good for his five rivals, the best of which looks to be Benzel, whose jockey Aidan Coleman brought up his 50th winner of the season on Tuesday.
Neil Mulholland has sent out 32 winners so far this season to lie fourth in the trainer’s championship table and he could increase that tally in the opening race on the card, the racinguk.com “National Hunt” Novices´ Hurdle, with Peter The Mayo Man.
A winner in Ireland before landing his first success in this country when beating a good yardstick in Excellent Team by 10 lengths at Worcester, Peter The Mayo Man was also entered in the later Ignite Incentives Handicap Hurdle, but Mulholland has decided to go for this novice event where he will be ridden by Noel Fehily.
Mount Russell, who failed to win in four races in Ireland, makes his British debut for Henry Oliver and David Bridgwater introduces another ex-Irish runner in point-to-point winner Accord.
Kineton trainer Laura Hurley will be hoping for an improved run from Catch Another, a half-brother to her stable star Catchin Time, who was tailed off and pulled up on his debut at Stratford.
Mulholland could double up in the following Dafferns 1896 Maiden Hurdle with Fontwell Park bumper winner Admiral Kid. He will be up against a more experienced rival in Wholestone, who has not been seen out since falling at Newcastle last November and may go off a shorter price than his form would indicate.
High Aspirations was making it four wins for the season when scoring at Wincanton in April, having started his run off a handicap mark of just 75. He will be racing from his highest-ever rating of 107 in the Lodders Solicitors Handicap Chase, but may not have stopped improving. .
The Ignite Incentives Handicap Hurdle looks like being a competitive affair, with Barman topping the weights. He was attempting to land a four-timer at Stratford last month, having won two novice events and a handicap, but could finish only third behind the useful Rossetti.
He is trained by Nicky Henderson, who had a winner at Newton Abbot on Monday, and, although he has been dropped 1lb in the ratings after his Stratford run, may find it tough to give weight away to , Northern Meeting, whose defeat of Solstalla at Worcester has been boosted by the runner-up having won twice since.
Eleven line up for the concluding Racing UK Profits Returned To Racing Handicap Hurdle which looks like being another tricky contest to find the winner. Wildmoor Boy won at his 11th attempt at Stratford and could run well off bottom weight, but the vote goes to Quebec, who won two novice races for Robert Stephens before moving to Lambourn trainer Charlie Mann.
Caught right on the line last time out by Vic’s Last Stand, who was completing a hat-trick, Quebec races off the same handicap mark of 110 here and can get back to winning ways.