Saffie Osborne shines again as Wales & The West put down marker at Great Yarmouth
Reigning champions Wales & The West threw down the gauntlet to the opposition with four winners on week one of Racing League at Great Yarmouth.
Having clinched the title in dramatic fashion last year with a three-timer on the closing night, Jamie Osborne’s outfit were the standout team on the opening night of this year’s competition.
Last year’s leading rider Saffie Osborne was the star of the show once again, replicating her Newcastle heroics with another treble on Chinese Knot (Rod Millman), Stone Circle (Michael Bell) and Alnilam (Milton Harris). Ross Coakley was also on the scoresheet for Wales & The West aboard Ed Walker’s Dark Trooper.
Saffie Osborne (credit: Grossick Photography)
Wales & The West accumulated 164 points across the seven races. The East (153 points) narrowed the deficit in the £100,000 finale as Frankie Dettori led home a one-two for his team on the Charlie Fellowes-trained Cumulonimbus. London & The South ended the evening third on 107 points.
Jamie Osborne said: “It was a satisfactory start! Tonight bodes well as I thought beforehand that it was a medium-strength team on paper.
“The East are right on our coattails after the result in the last race but this was, in effect, a home match for them. Us Welsh have our home match at Chepstow to come in a couple of weeks and we will be putting out a pretty strong squad.
“All in all, I am very satisfied with where we are after night one.”
Following his victory in the feature, Dettori said: “It is nice to win the big race of the night. Perhaps I could have won on my other ride [Shahbaz, beaten a neck] as well but I am pleased with this. It is good for our team, Charlie Fellowes’ team, and leaves us not too far off the lead.
“This is the third year of Racing League and I hope it takes off. To have two channels showing seven races on a Thursday night is brilliant, and so is the prize money.”
Earlier on the card, The East’s Farhh To Shy (George Margarson) notched her third course win with a smooth display under Callum Shepherd in the seven-furlong handicap, much to the delight of her local owner-breeder Francis Butler.
Butler said: “That was absolutely fantastic. Farhh To Shy is the 10th foal out of the mare [Coconut Shy], who I claimed from a seller at Yarmouth, and six have won. Seeing them grow up and go into training, it is so great. I have owned winners that I’ve bought but, when you have bred a winner, it is such a different feeling. This our local track and for her to win again is absolutely brilliant.”
Last year’s runner-up London & The South opened its account in the mile handicap with Frankel filly Achillea, who was shedding her maiden tag at the sixth attempt for Dean Ivory and Marco Ghiani.
Ghiani said: “Racing League is competitive and the prize money is beautiful. You get to ride for people you don’t usually ride for, which means you can create new connections. The filly came off the bridle and I was a little worried, but she has a big heart and fought to the line.”
Ghiani sits third in the leading jockey standings on 47 points, with Osborne (75 points) and Kieran Shoemark (60 points) setting the early pace.
For full race results, league tables and lots more see the brilliant Racing League microsite from our partners AtTheRaces
See all the week 1 race replay videos:
(refresh page here to load embedded Twitter posts)
The opening race of the 2023 Racing League goes to Wales and The West! 🏴🔴— ITV Racing (@itvracing) July 27, 2023
Chinese Knot wins the William Hill Extra Place Races Daily Racing League Race 1 Nursery Handicap!#ITVRacing | @RacingLeagueUK | @OsborneSaffie | @GTYarmouthRaces pic.twitter.com/FBkQSVkZ95