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Knutsford Races at Tabley
Sunday 20th May 2018
by Rory Alkin

The final meeting of the North West season takes place at Tabley on Sunday with six races commencing at 2.00. There will also be three pony races beforehand starting at 1.00. The going was good on Monday and Clerk of the Course Rob Hankey will water as necessary to ensure safe ground.

The feature race The Lord Daresbury North West Area Classic Final has £1,000 in prize money and has attracted six entries. The pick of them are Ballyrath, Garde Ville, Macs Gift and Optimised. Having run well in novice company winning a Restricted and Intermediate, Optimised found the competition much tougher when only sixth in a hunter chase at Cheltenham recently. His stable companion Macs Gift has run respectably but has not contested open class races yet. Ballyrath ran well when winning first time out after a long break at Sandon on Easter Saturday and was a good second in the four mile Open at Cold Harbour a fortnight ago. Garde Ville has by far the best form in the race and having beaten the prolific Hazel Hill on Easter Saturday, he then ran four subsequent races and won three further opens in the space of thirteen days. Provided all this racing has not taken its toll, Trish Rigby's charge should have too much class against this opposition.

The Mixed Open over a shortened two and a half miles has twenty-two entries and is likely to be well contested. The best of the entries appear to be Bear's Affair, Gabriel the Great, Irish Anthem, Jimmy the Jetplane, Lough Inch, Numbercruncher and Sedgemoor Express. Lough Inch has been a prolific winner over the seasons but is having his first run this year. Gabrial the Great was a multiple chase winner for Donald McCain and David Pipe and won very well on his only point run over a similar trip at Bitterley recently. Jimmy the Jetplane and Numbercruncher have both been running well in Hunter Chases but Bear's Affair who has been running in better class and was runner-up in the Aintree Foxhunters is taken to prevail.

The opening race is for horses 10-year-old and upwards who have not won beyond Restricted level in the past two seasons. The race looks an ideal opportunity for the Sian McCain trained Oscatara to improve on his five placed efforts this season in stronger company.

The PPORA Novice Riders race looks competitive with Aupcharlie, Derksen, Farmer Matt and Oscatara heading the entries. Aupcharlie will be bidding to give Mikaela Tollett her first win and the combination were runners-up in similar races at Garthorpe and Chaddesley Corbett. Alice Stevens has ridden Derksen to win his last two races at Peper Harrow and Knightwick and might be good enough to win here.

The Restricted looks a very open contest and Beggars Bush will be looking to follow up on his win in the three-mile Maiden at Eyton. However, the winner of the two and-a-half-mile Maiden on the same day created a good impression and is taken as the selection here.

In the concluding Maiden Big Brother George, Round Robin and Sparkle Again have the best form but there are five four-year olds from top stables entered and with a 21-pound allowance at this time of the season, it's probable one of them will win, but impossible to make a selection.



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