JOHN Riches enjoyed his first winner as trainer when Indian Giver landed the Sunday Mail Summer Racenight Next Week Handicap at Hamilton Park.
Sent off at 9-2, the Lancashire raider was driven to a two-length victory over Her Red Devil by Ali Rawlinson.
Riches, who is based at Pilling, near Lancaster, said: “I’ve only had a licence six weeks and this was only my 11th runner. We’ve had a few placed horses before today so we’re not doing too badly.
“Garry Moss and Hugh McWilliams used to train for me but when Hugh got injured I decided to take out my own licence. Racing is my hobby but I’m up at 4am and I used to have a fish wholesale business.”
Jim Goldie’s Aleksandar, ridden by Graham Lee, led home Linda Perratt pair Geanie Mac and Royal Straight for a Scottish 1, 2, 3 in the Fernigair Handicap. “He’s tough and game and Graham gave him a lovely ride,” Goldie said. “He stays well so I knew he’d run all the way up the hill.”
There is a strong Irish challenge in the feature race at Perth on Wednesday when Gordon Elliott’s Bless The Wings heads the weights for the RAF Leuchars Ops Squadron Handicap Chase (for The Stirling Cup).
Elliott said: “It’s his first run for us and he had pretty decent form a couple of seasons ago. We’ll see how he goes but we always try and find some runners for Perth.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies is another Perth regular and he has son Sam in the saddle for fencing newcomer Lady Fingers who faces nine rivals in the Celebration Of The Horse Day July 30th Novices’ Handicap Chase.
In Ireland, Tracey Collins is hoping Majestic Queen can continue on the upgrade when she goes for a second Group 3 triumph in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse today. The four-year-old filly lowered the colours of Frankel’s sister Joyeuse in the Ballyogan Stakes over six furlongs and steps back up a furlong, a distance over which she has also been successful.
“She won well the last time and I think she’s improving,” said Collins, who is based at the Curragh.
“She’s in good form, but it’s a competitive race for her to carry her penalty in and it will be the first time she’s gone round a bend right-handed.”
Another Group 3 winner in the eight-runner line-up is the Fozzy Stack-trained Wannabe Better, who took the Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown two weeks ago.
There are two three-year-olds in the field from big stables with Aidan O’Brien saddling Sparrow and John Oxx relying on Seas Of Wells, but they were beaten by Majestic Queen last time in third and fourth places respectively.