Yorkshire racing sprung into life on Saturday after an extended winter in the doldrums, as Richard Fahey and David O’Meara teamed up to earn a North Yorkshire one-two in the Betway Lincoln.
This success came among a nap hand of winners across a cracking two-day card at Doncaster’s Town Moor circuit.
Malton-based handler Fahey got off to the best possible start in his quest for his first-ever double century haul, as he looks to better last year’s previous best of 192 winners.
Three winners across the two days, including the feature race, could prove to be a perfect springboard for a stable packed with firepower for the upcoming Flat campaign.
Nawton-based O’Meara had a couple of winners and a number of placed horses, as he looks to have his string firing on all cylinders in anticipation of a fruitful season.
The highly-rated Gabrial turned in a star performance to clinch the Betway Lincoln for trainer Fahey and jockey Tony Hamilton.
The six-year-old gelding has been tried over a variety of distances and a number of courses as his larger than life owner Dr Marwan Koukash has had his usual input.
However it was on Saturday that the talented Gabrial put his best foot forward to claim the first valuable prize of the flat season, as he defeated David O’Meara’s French import Mondialiste by an agonising neck.
It was the second time in four years that the Koukash, Fahey and Hamilton combination had teamed up to take the flat season curtain-raiser.
The owner said: “When I started off in racing I always wanted to win the big handicaps, Cesarewitch, Ayr Gold Cup and the Lincoln.
“When I first met Richard I asked what race he would like to win the most and he said it was this one.
“Now we’ve done it twice so I’m delighted” said Koukash.
Fahey was quick to add “They raced in a very tight pack and I wasn’t sure he was going to get out in time.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him really pin his ears back and have a real go as he’s a bit of a character.
“Tony (Hamilton) said he always felt like he was going to win. The only reason he was running over further last year was because after Mount Athos got injured Marwan wanted a Melbourne Cup horse but he didn’t stay.
“He’s a Listed winner and while I doubt he’s getting better, we’ll hatch a plan and see where we go, I presume it will be Chester.”
Koukash responded: “He’ll go to the Huxley Stakes over 10 furlongs at Chester.”
Finals day of the All Weather Championships is the highlight of this weekend’s action, but if you are like me and all- weather racing doesn’t particularly float your boat then you could start to have a look at the antepost markets for a few of this seasons classics.
Guineas Weekend at Newmarket in May presents us with our first opportunity and one horse which I feel has been seriously overlooked is the Richard Hannon-trained Tiggy Wiggy.
Winner of six out of her eight races last season, Tiggy Wiggy is primarily considered a sprinter, but after comfortably seeing out six furlongs last season in most impressive fashion on her final two starts it could easily be feasible that she could stay further and if she does then she is incredibly overpriced at 20/1.
Master trainer Hannon knows exactly what it takes to win the 1,000 Guineas and with last season’s champion two-year-old filly being his only represenatative, I’m sure he will be doing everything to have her primed for the big day in May.
Hannon said: “If she jumps out with her usual zest and shows her trademark blistering pace then she may take some serious pegging back and could make the generous 20/1 look very silly.”
Apart from the All Weather championships at Lingfield on Good Friday it is a very quiet weekend of domestic racing as we build up to the following weekend’s Crabbies Grand National.
So if you are at a loose end and fancy a day out at the races, why not give the Staintondale point-to-point a try on Bank Holiday Monday?
It is held at Charm Park between Ayton and Wykeham and if the weather is good it will be a cracking day out.
There will be seven competitive races, with some decent horses and talented jockeys on show as well as a bar and a range of other entertainment for children.
The action starts at 12.30pm.
Tiggy Wiggy, 1,000 Guineas, Newmarket, May, 20/1