RED Baron scorched to an all-the-way victory in Musselburgh’s Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap despite galloping loose before the start of the £10,000 feature race.
He got rid of Neil Farley twice after leaving the paddock and romped down the far side before being caught on the second occasion but all was well in the end as the combination saw off Chosen One by two and a quarter lengths.
Winning trainer Eric Alston said: “He was just very fresh and there was never a chance of us withdrawing him. He’s got plenty of ability and I think he is still improving. It’s good to have a decent horse in the yard and there are nice races to be won with him.”
Alan Swinbank, who had gone 39-days without success, enjoyed a welcome winner to get off the ‘cold list’ when Robert Winston drove Ebony Express to victory in the Download The Free Racing Plus App Handicap.
Winston said: “The race pretty much went to plan and the worst thing was the wind. It’s a gusting headwind and the horses are getting quite badly buffeted about in the home-straight.”
Linda Perratt’s horses are in decent nick and the East Kilbride trainer struck with 9/1 chance Silver Rime in the 32Red.com Handicap. She said: “He did it really well and they went very quick up front which helps him as he enjoys being held up and coming off a strong pace.”
Viva Venglas was an impressive winner of the two-year-old maiden in the hands of Graham Gibbons for Thirsk trainer David Barron.
While the Irish Derby is the highlight of today’s action, the ‘Pitmen’s Derby’ – the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate – is a better betting proposition for punters, with some bookmakers going 9-1 the field this morning. There would not be many more popular winners of the big race at Newcastle if Noble Alan took the spoils for Cumbrian handler Nicky Richards.
The grey is not far off top class over hurdles and fences, and now the 10-year-old has had his attentions switched to the Flat late in life. However, his debut success came in a bumper over two miles at this venue in November 2007 and he also has a hurdles victory to his credit there too. His last start at Ascot suggests he is still unexposed on the level, despite his advancing years, and Richards feels he is capable of running a huge race, despite his big price.
“He ran a lovely race at Ascot (in May) and myself and Craig (Bennett, owner) decided it would be fun to give him a shot at a big race on the Flat,” said Richards of the 33-1 shot. “If he stays, a race like this might just suit him. He’s got a grand chance, he’s in great form and if he has a bit of luck in running who knows what might happen?”
Both Donald McCain’s Ile De Re and Jonjo O’Neill’s Tominator are returning for another crack and while both have good draws, they have plenty of weight to overcome. The pair finished behind Richard Fahey’s duo Address Unknown and Ingleby Spirit in the Chester Cup although Fahey is worried that the draw has conspired against him this time round.
Paul Hanagan rides one of the ante-post fancies in Ed Dunlop’s Mubaraza, who ran well at Royal Ascot last week. “It’s pretty quick (to run again), but they say he has come out of his race well. He was just a bit keen over that trip at Ascot and I think dropping back to two miles will be in his favour,” said the former champion jockey, who won this race back in 2004 on Mirjan for the now-retired Len Lungo.