London & The South still the team to catch as Wales & The West lose ground
London & The South re-established a clear lead in the race to be crowned Racing League champions after round four of the competition at Windsor .
Just a single point separated London & The South and Wales & The West following last week’s fixture at Newcastle but the gap has widened to 48 points after Matt Chapman’s team ended the night on 586 points overall.
Following a couple of near misses earlier on the card, the decisive result for London & The South came in the penultimate 10-furlong handicap, with Sanitiser (Paul & Oliver Cole) reeling in team-mate Danville close home to secure maximum points.
Chapman said: “Going into this meeting, I suspect most people thought Wales & The West would top the standings by the end of the evening, so it goes down as a desperately disappointing night for Jamie Osborne.
“As for London & The South, I thought my jockeys rode brilliantly and a big thanks to Sean Levey, Louis Steward, Nicola Currie and Marco Ghiani. I know Sean feels he left two winners out there with Majestic and Nuvolari but it was a fantastic night overall.
“However, Osborne is like a nasty rash that won’t go away. This competition is still up for grabs because Wales & The West will be there in force at Southwell and Newcastle.”
Sanitiser leads home a one-two for London & The South at Windsor (credit: Grossick Photography)
Wales & The West briefly topped the standings after the five-furlong nursery, with Safari Dream (Rod Millman) depriving The North of a one-two, but Jamie Osborne’s team failed to capitalise on the result in the remaining five races.
Osborne said: “We have not had the evening that we hoped we would have. London & The South have had a very good evening, whereas we have slightly underperformed. But there are two weeks to go, 14 races left, and lots of points up for grabs.”
Lir Speciale’s victory in the six-furlong handicap was the beginning of a lucrative 30 minutes for The East (440 points), with Rupert Bell’s team also saddling Croupier to victory in the following mile handicap. Lir Speciale (Roger Varian) was making his first start since a wind operation, while Croupier (Simon & Ed Crisford) did well to win after stumbling leaving the stalls.
Ray Dawson, who rode Lir Speciale, said: “All dues to Roger for getting this horse back. Lir Speciale had a lot of time off and, winning the way he won, he had to be very tough. He impressed us a lot at Doncaster at the start of the season and it is nice to see him back with this level of performance because we do think a lot of him.”
Ed Crisford said of Croupier: “I am very pleased to get some points on the board for our team. The horse had a bit of a layoff and then ran well on his first start back at Newmarket. It was a shame he stumbled as the plan was to go forward but luckily there was some pace on and he managed to finish well.”
Having taken the closing race at Newcastle, The North bookended the card with two Richard Fahey-trained winners and moved up to fourth in the standings with 407 points. Vintage Clarets took the opener under Connor Beasley and Wootton'sun claimed the concluding contest under Harrison Shaw.
Team manager Mick Quinn said: “We were like Vikings coming down from the north to get points from the south! First of all, well done to Richard Fahey with both winners – I thought Wootton’sun looked magnificent in the parade ring and stood out a mile. And well done to all the jockeys who rode for us tonight. We have had two winners, a second and three thirds. We are just getting the hang of it going into the fifth meeting now!”
Ireland’s colours were in the winner’s enclosure following the second mile handicap on the card, courtesy of the Jessica Harrington-trained That’s Just Dandy. The four-year-old had finished third at Doncaster on the opening night.
Assistant trainer Kate Harrington said: “That’s Just Dandy has been knocking on the door all season and finally got his breakthrough. The track here has really suited him and it was a great ride from Dylan [Browne McMonagle]. This has been a brilliant day’s racing. It is a different feel with the teams and I think people should embrace it because the prize money is excellent.”
London & The South’s number one rider Sean Levey leads the jockey standings on 228 points. Saffie Osborne is second on 156 points for Wales & The West, with Yorkshire’s David Allan in third on 146 points.
Jockey standings after week 4 - for full race results, league tables and lots more see the brilliant Racing League microsite from our partners AtTheRaces