Wales & The West in control at halfway stage
Wales & The West maintain a firm hold on this year’s Racing League following week three at Windsor, with fixtures at Newcastle, Wolverhampton and Southwell still to come.
A further two winners at Windsor helped to boost Wales & The West’s overall points tally to 471, almost 100 clear of London & The South (378 points) in second place.
Promising three-year-old Gallant Lion and Fulfilled secured first and third for Jamie Osborne’s team in the extended 11-furlong handicap, following on from Just Bring It’s success in the preceding mile handicap.
Explaining his team manager role, Osborne said: “We had 50 entries this week and everybody wanted to run. I was basically the grim reaper for the first few days, disappointing people who wanted to run. Where I am lucky is that my trainers and owners have really bought into the concept because they love the prize money. I can only run two in each race and I have to try to select the best two whilst trying to be fair. There is a bit of give and take.
“We enter on Friday mornings but, in the days up to that, we are looking at a spreadsheet and trying to fill the columns with multiple entries for each race. If we are light somewhere, I am chivvying the trainers along to fill those columns. Then once the entries are in, we have a chat as a team and see where our best chances are coming from.
“Now, we got it horribly wrong in the first four races tonight, but that is going to happen and shows how difficult this sport is. I could have picked from 10 or 12 horses from some of those races and God we got it wrong. There is a huge element of chance involved.”
Gallant Lion winning for Wales & The West (credit: Grossick Racing Photography)
London & The South were one of two teams alongside Ireland (350 points) to register a one-two on the card, with Sean Levey guiding six-furlong handicap winner Capote’s Dream to his first victory in over two years.
Levey said: “I fancied the horse. I have been lucky enough to ride Capote’s Dream a few times and been unlucky on him. Credit to Tom [Ward, trainer] because, for a horse who has constantly been finding disappointment in his runs, he has found a little bit of improvement to get his head in front today. He is a strong finisher and needs things to land in his lap. With the competitive nature of Racing League, there was that pace to aim at, and he seems happier when you find a bit of trouble.”
Ireland gained maximum points in the mile handicap for three-year-olds as Pjanoo rallied to beat his more fancied team-mate Hat Toss, providing apprentice jockey Danny Sheehy with a first Racing League winner.
Team manager Kevin Blake said: “That was needed as the evening until then had gone a bit miserably. That is this competition though – it can be going wrong, then you get a one-two and suddenly you’re away. I am particularly happy for Danny as it is a big commitment coming over.
“Ireland is so tough [for jockeys]. Danny rode 170 winners on the pony circuit and, as is often the case, there was a lot of expectation when he started. He had loads of winners but there is always more coming through the system and, when you get down to 3lbs [claim], it can be easy to slow down a bit. As you saw there, he is a very good rider – so strong for a light fella – and it is great to get him over here to showcase his talent. Who knows what might spring from it.”
The North (319 points) and trainer Richard Fahey once again came away with the feature race of the night as Spirit Dancer pounced late in the £100,000 10-furlong handicap, following up Ramazan’s victory at Chepstow last week. Fahey and jockey Oisin Orr also bagged the five-furlong handicap with Show Me Show Me.
Team manager Mick Quinn said: “We won the big pot at Chepstow and we have done it again this week. This is the first time that I have been on the same team as [Spirit Dancer’s part-owner] Sir Alex Ferguson! Richard and the owners wanted to bypass York to come here and it has paid off. It is great for Oisin too as he is second in the jockey standings now and could be a challenger to Saffie [Osborne], who looked like she was going to run away with it.”
Scotland’s 28/1 chance Zoulu Chief caused the biggest shock of the night as he made all in the opening six-furlong nursery, having already scored at odds of 150/1 on his second start at Newbury.
Part-owner John Runeckles said: “That was exactly how Zoulu Chief won at Newbury at 150/1, which was an amazing feat. We put him in the Coventry Stakes but he was very upset in the stalls. The ground was then too sticky for him in the nursery at Goodwood. David Llewellyn [part-owner] has owned horses in Australia and kept nagging about buying a Zoustar, which is why we bought him. I think Racing League is a great idea and the people who knock it should stay away.”
For full race results, league tables and lots more see the brilliant Racing League microsite from our partners AtTheRaces
See all the week 3 race replay videos:
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🟣 It's a one-two for London and the South! 🟣— ITV Racing (@itvracing) August 17, 2023
Capote's Dream takes the William Hill Keep Your Raceday Positive Racing League Race 16 Handicap 🥇
A first win in sixteen races! #ITVRacing | @RacingLeagueUK | @WindsorRaces | @LeveySean | @TomWardRacing pic.twitter.com/jqk5H65l55
🟢🇮🇪 It's a one-two for Ireland! 🇮🇪🟢— ITV Racing (@itvracing) August 17, 2023
Pjanoo wins the William Hill Epic Value Racing League Race 18 Handicap with
Hat Toss in second 🥇🥈
Team Green is right back in this!#ITVRacing | @RacingLeagueUK | @WindsorRaces | @dannysheehy99 | @RogerCharlton pic.twitter.com/psEbSlbIhu
🔴🏴 Another win for Wales and the West! 🏴🔴— ITV Racing (@itvracing) August 17, 2023
Another win for @OsborneSaffie!
Gallant Lion takes the William Hill Enhanced Odds Every Day Racing League Race 20 Handicap 🥇#ITVRacing | @RacingLeagueUK | @WindsorRaces | @AWCarrollracing pic.twitter.com/b1zdYDS8Qu
⚫️ Another win for the North! ⚫️— ITV Racing (@itvracing) August 17, 2023
Spirit Dancer holds them off in the William Hill Epic Boost Racing League Race 21 🥇
Double on the day for Orr, Fahey and the team from the North! ✌️#ITVRacing | @RacingLeagueUK | @WindsorRaces | @OrrOisin | @RichardFahey pic.twitter.com/wuEBb1oAK3