Horse racing: Russell sets sights on Lungo’s record
LEADING jumps trainer Lucinda Russell came close to setting a new Scottish record for winners in a season last time out. She has already got off to a flying start this term, and has vowed not to rest until the record is hers.
Len Lungo’s record of 63 winners was set in 2002-03, and Russell was within touching distance last year when she finished up with 57, including a memorable Cheltenham Festival win with Brindisi Breeze.
Her running tally this year is 27 and, with Ayr, Kelso and Musselburgh all about to start their National Hunt seasons, she will have extra chances to increase that tally close to home.
“I was happy enough when we got to 50 last year, then I was told of Len’s record, and it wound me up that I didn’t achieve it,” Russell said yesterday at the Scottish jumps season media day at Musselburgh.
“This year we’ll definitely be going for 63. I won’t be sleeping until we achieve that.” However, the Milnathort-based trainer knows that some factors were outwith her control – above all, the weather. No matter how long she puts up with insomnia in her pursuit of the record, she knows her hopes could be swept away in a flurry of snow.
“It is very hard to put numbers on things – if we have a bit of bad weather then that’s going to totally scupper us. We just want to keep on improving. Our numbers have gone up and the standard has gone up.
“We’re very ambitious for the young lads that are riding for us and to make sure they get the best start they can and show their talents as much as they can. And keep the numbers there and keep racing healthy in Scotland.”
Ayr’s next meeting is on 3 November, Musselburgh is on the 8th and Kelso is on the 10th.
Meanwhile Van Der Neer will be Richard Hannon’s one certain runner in Saturday’s Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, with connections still to decide over the participation of stablemate Havana Gold.
Saeed Manana’s Van Der Neer is unbeaten in two starts, at Yarmouth and then on soft ground at Leicester last week, while Havana Gold, who falls under Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Bloodstock banner, has been busier, with four victories from six starts including a Listed race and a Group 3. He was most recently beaten a head by Ghurair in the £500,000 Tattersalls Millions 2YO Trophy.
“We supplemented Van Der Neer yesterday so he runs, we’ve been very happy with him and he has been working well,” said Richard Hannon junior.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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