Stratford Racecourse to hold ten more meetings before curtain comes down on 2021 season
TEN meetings remain at Stratford in the 2021 season, including two evening fixtures, and the first of these comes up tomorrow, Tuesday, starting at 5.30pm, writes David Hucker.
The six-race card opens with two Class 3 events, each carrying a prize fund of £12,200, and starts with the Join Racing TV Now Novices' Steeple Chase for five-year-olds and upwards over a trip of two-and-three-quarter miles.
Ballymoy notched a hat-trick of chase wins in the spring on good and soft going, earning an official rating of 144.
He achieved an even higher rating of 152 over hurdles in 2019 and, on the strength of that, was sent off an odds-on favourite for his chasing debut against Nube Negra at Warwick.
Dan Skelton's winner is now contesting championship races and, although Ballymoy hasn't risen to the same heights, he brings a lot of experience into this race.
He faces a re-run with Premier D'troice who, in receipt of 4lbs, beat him in a photo finish at Newton Abbot earlier this month, but they meet at level weights here and Ballymoy should come out best this time.
The Bull McCabe has won twice over hurdles at the track, but needs to improve his jumping from his chase debut at Uttoxeter.
This is followed by another over the larger obstacles with the Watch On Racing TV Handicap Chase for horses rated 0-130 over two miles and a furlong, in which locally-trained Atlantic Storm makes another appearance at the course.
Leading owner J P McManus runs Thecraicisninety and Blazer from his four entries and Eskendash has finished runner-up in both his starts since joining Wilmcote handler Olly Murphy.
The third is the Every Race Live On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle over two-and-three-quarter miles, the first of two hurdle races on the card, and this can go to Chives, the selection from three entries for the season's leading trainer Nicky Henderson, who got off the mark at Bangor-on-Dee.
It's back to fences with the Visit racingtv.com Novices' Handicap Chase, this time covering a distance off two miles and three-and-a-half furlongs, and Newton Abbot all-the-way winner Shortcross Storm and Authorizo, unplaced behind Sir Tivo here two weeks ago, set the standard.
Dual hurdles winner Saintbury Lady makes her chasing debut after wind surgery and, although not seen on the course since last September, shouldn't lack for fitness.
The second hurdle race is the Bet At racingtv.com Maiden Hurdle over the shorter trip of two miles and half a furlong and Market Rasen bumper winner San Fermin will be well fancied on his jumping debut for Murphy.
Jalwan races in the colours of the Noel Fehily Racing Syndicate and, although beaten a long way in a small race last time, is progressing and could be in the shake-up.
The meeting ends at 8pm with the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing National Hunt Flat Race, which is restricted to conditional and amateur jockeys, and course winner Ultimate Fame, ridden by Liam Harrison, looks the one to beat.
Tim Easterby brings San Roch down from Great Habton in Yorkshire and Ocean Heights has also shown form.
All three enclosures will be in operation, with tickets in the centre of the course costing £10, Tattersalls at £18 and the club at £22.
U18s go free when accompanied by an adult. All tickets must be booked in advance at www.stratfordracecourse.net.