Richard Hannon has pinpointed Lilbourne Lass as his leading chance of an eighth victory in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury today.
The Herridge handler has dominated the race since its inception in 1991, with subsequent Group One winner Lyric Fantasy arguably his most notable winner back in 1992. Hannon has not triumphed since sending out Monsieur Chevalier in 2009 and he has three chances this time, headed by dual Bath winner Lilbourne Lass, who will be ridden by Jimmy Quinn as stable jockey Richard Hughes cannot make her low weight.
“Off 8st 1lb, Lilbourne Lass would look to be the one, and, though she is drawn one, both If Paradise (2003) and Lady Livius (2005) were able to win this race for us from that stall,” he told www.richardhannonracing.com. “We have purposely kept Lilbourne Lass fresh for this race, avoiding penalties, and, though she can be tricky at the gate, Gary Witheford (stalls expert) will be going down to the start with her, so hopefully all will be OK.”
Biography, who was beaten in a Salisbury conditions event last time, is the only horse high enough in the weights for Hughes to ride, while Harry Bentley will be on Bird Of Light, winner of her only start to date.
Royston Ffrench will also have to ride light aboard the Bryan Smart-trained Lexington Rose, who is saddled with 8st 1lb. She will be having her sixth career start here and has already beaten the re-opposing Memory Styx and Proclamationofwar this term.
Richard Fahey sends five runners from his Musley Bank base in Yorkshire, headed by Peniaphobia, the mount of former champion jockey Paul Hanagan. The Dandy Man colt has won two of his three starts and is the most experienced of Fahey’s quartet. “He looks the best of ours as his form is rock solid and he’s improving along the whole time, but I wouldn’t like to put money on him finishing ahead of the others,” he said. “It’s nice to be firing a few bullets at big money.”
Fahey also has Eccleston, who finished last in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, along with Khalice and once-raced maidens Foxy Clarets and Gym Shoes. He said: “Foxy Clarets has come on a ton for his first run at Newcastle and we think he’s quite smart, so we’re keen to let him take his chance.
“Gym Shoes only ran the other day and we’re turning him out fairly quickly, but I think he’s better than 100-1 shot. He’s quite nice.
“Eccleston was disappointing at Ascot, but he’s a good horse. The ground might just be a little bit quick for him.
“Khalice disappointed last time, but if she came back to form she’d have a bit of a chance.”
Weisse Socken shed her maiden tag at the fourth time of asking at Chester last week and trainer Ralph Beckett turns her out again quickly in this £250,000 prize. “She’s going there in form and we’re very happy with her,” he said.
Meanwhile, a tilt at the Galway Hurdle could still be on the cards for Barizan if he can continue his resurgence in the Betfred Mobile Lotto Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen today.
The seven-year-old was a top-notch juvenile hurdler a few seasons ago and is perhaps best known for his swashbuckling front-running effort in the 2010 Triumph Hurdle, where he was so agonisingly denied by Soldatino up the punishing hill. He went on to claim Grade One glory at Punchestown a month later
His rating is now pushing 140 again and Williams feels a 12lb rise for his half-length Haydock verdict is harsh. He said: “We just thought he’d gone up plenty enough for Haydock. We might still go to Ireland (for the Galway Hurdle) if he ran well on Saturday, but it’s quite a hike up in the weights for winning the Swinton.
“He’s in great form, and the ground will suit.”