Huge night under the lights at Southwell on week five of Racing League
A potentially pivotal night of Racing League action takes place at Southwell on Thursday, September 8, as London & The South (586 points) looks to drive home its lead heading into the penultimate fixture.
Team Standings after race week 4
Wales & The West remain the main threat to Matt Chapman’s team on 538 points overall, with The East third on 455 points and The North fourth on 407 points after a good showing at Windsor last week.
Chapman said: “This looks the most competitive week in Racing League yet. It has also been the hardest for London & The South as we had the drama of losing Marco Ghiani and then more drama when Sean Levey was toing and froing about whether he would have to go to Doncaster instead.
“My trainers have been absolutely magnificent. Those who thought they had booked Sean were still willing to run, even though I gave them the option to pull out, and were very understanding about the situation.
“I cannot praise my trainers enough and now it is down to the riders I have – Nicola Currie, Daniel Muscutt and Louis Steward – to deliver on the night and take us clear.”
Wales & The West looked well placed to overtake London & The South at Windsor, having closed the deficit to just one point, but a disappointing night has left Jamie Osborne’s team with little margin for error.
Osborne said: “I think we are going to be a bit stronger at Newcastle than Southwell this week, as we have kept a few bullets back for the final meeting.
“I have not gone through exactly what London & The South has but I think it is unlikely that we finish Thursday night ahead in the standings.
“As long as we can close the gap or at least keep ourselves within striking distance, we intend to be very strong at Newcastle.
“Galiac has been a stalwart so far with seconds at Doncaster and Newcastle. He deserves a win and, while he could have been drawn a bit better, I would say he will have a strong chance in the mile race at 6.45pm.”
The East has the maximum allocation of runners across the seven races, with team manager Rupert Bell hoping his team can at least collect the most points on the night.
Bell said: “I do not want to go down without a fight, that is the bottom line, although it could be a struggle to make up significant ground on London & The South as, numbers wise, they are in good shape this week.
“I believe we have a good chance of a bold showing in the first race with Prydwen, who was unlucky at Lingfield, and Lasting Legacy for Charlie Fellowes. Charlie has been my star trainer so far. He is optimistic at the best of times but he has not let me down yet and was keen to run four this week.
“We have an interesting runner in the 7.45pm in Tyger Bay. The horse actually runs at Doncaster on Wednesday but Conrad Allen was adamant that he will have no problem backing up 24 hours later.
“Truthfully, it looks a battle between Matt and Jamie but I think scoring the most points on the night is a realistic expectation for us. The key to it all is not necessarily winners but having two horses finish in the first five. That was the case for us at Lingfield when we picked up 155 points. Ideally, you want both horses scoring strongly.”