Wednesday 13 December 2017

Basoda can join Lion in enclosure and add to Bailey's run

With two impressive winners from his last three runners, Kim Bailey's team has hit form lately, and there might be more to come at Market Rasen tomorrow.

Of the Gloucestershire handler's three representatives on the card, Lion On The Prowl and Basoda are both expected to build on their respective recent efforts. Lion On The Prowl contests what is a poor beginners' chase, with the modest Fennis Boy, trained by Bailey's one-time assistant Charlie Longsdon, the most obvious danger.

Jonjo O'Neill's fencing debutant Schism is another with a squeak, but Lion On The Prowl is the horse to beat if he can recapture anything like his best form. Placed over hurdles off a rating of 127, the Sadler's Wells gelding has had just two outings since January, finishing third and fourth at Worcester on his first two tries at chasing.

Not disgraced on either occasion, he faces weaker opposition now, so it will be a surprise if he doesn't secure a first win for over a year under Jason Maguire.

The subsequent handicap that Basoda tackles is a far more open heat, with four recent winners among a 10-strong delegation.

Any of that quartet could have a big part to play again, but Basoda is no back number with the Co Meath native up. Sidelined through injury for 18 months prior to unseating early on his return at Wincanton in May, the nine-year-old improved on that to finish a distant second at Uttoxeter last month.

While Basoda will need to come on for that again, there is every reason to believe that he will, and the handicapper has given him a chance by dropping him two pounds straight away. That leaves him just seven pounds higher than when a ready winner at Kempton on his final outing before injury, so he might not be at all badly treated.

Outsider to note

Tregaro should outrun double-figure odds under Denis O'Regan in the two-and-a-quarter-mile handicap chase at Market Rasen tomorrow.

Although beaten a long way on his last start in a maiden chase at Catterick back in December, the Mike Sowersby-trained six-year-old had previously run well in handicaps. Fourth on his chasing debut at Market Rasen, he was an admirable second there next time, before filling the same spot at Catterick off a mark of 83.

Today, the former dual point-to-point winner lines out in an admittedly competitive heat off just a pound-higher rating. If he is anywhere near fit, Tregaro has the scope to improve and make the frame again on what is just his 10th start.

Sunday Yankee

Market Rasen 3.45 -- Lion On The Prowl

Market Rasen 4.15 -- Basoda

Market Rasen 4.45 -- Tregaro

Bellewstown 4.35 -- Discoteca

Numbers game

10 So You Think's final Group One haul following his premature retirement 48 hours ahead of his intended finale in today's Eclipse.

186 The number of years that racing is believed to have taken place at Bellewstown's Crockafatha track, which concludes its three-day gala tomorrow.

3 The number of successive races that rookie trainer Michael O'Callaghan has won with Bogini. Having scored twice in a week in England last month, the filly provided the Kildare-based handler with his first winner in Ireland at Leopardstown on Thursday.

Quote of the week

"It's great to clock up a winner. We are normally point-to-point people, but we have four for the track. I'm also a postman in Mallow. It's a bit mad I know -- I start very early!" -- Cork's Pat Breen, who only saddled his first runners last month, hints at a dawn riding out schedule after Apache Gold's win at Gowran Park on Tuesday.

Three things we

learned this week

1 Where there's a will, there's a way. Betfair and the British Horseracing Authority, whose respective figureheads were publicly at loggerheads just a few months ago, have agreed a pact that will see the betting exchange contribute £40m to British racing over five years.

The deal, hammered out in less than four weeks due to an impending high court case, reflects particularly badly on the executive at Horse Racing Ireland.

To summarise, in 2009, Betfair was prevented from contributing anything to Irish racing when HRI's chief executive Brian Kavanagh requested that they double what was then a voluntary contribution of more than €1m a year.

Betfair, which is not obliged to contribute anything to Irish racing, refused the demand, and have effectively been overlooked from sponsoring races here as a result.

Three years on, despite the precarious state of the industry's funding, the dearth of sponsors and the much-talked about broadening of the tax net to include online and exchange operators looking increasingly like a grand delusion, nothing has changed.

It is also worth noting that the BHA's take of Betfair's turnover relates only to monies gambled on British racing. Should a direct correlation eventually materialise here, an overhaul of our obsolete and dysfunctional regulatory system would be a welcome necessity.

2 The Triple Crown looms for Camelot. Ballydoyle's star colt is already a triple Classic winner following his triumph in a depleted Irish Derby, and Aidan O'Brien essentially confirmed thereafter that the St Leger is now his prime target. Some view that as a convenient way of avoiding Frankel, while others applaud the break from a commercially-driven agenda for a tilt at history. Either way, he is a really fine horse.

3 Summer is cancelled. In the past 10 days, 14 meetings have been abandoned either side of the Irish Sea due to waterlogging. Sad to say, there's probably more to come.

Racing Diary

Monday: Roscommon*, Ayr, Newton Abbot, Ripon*, Windsor*

Tuesday: Fairyhouse, Roscommon*, Pontefract, Southwell* (AW), Uttoxeter*, Wolverhampton (AW)

Wednesday: Naas*, Catterick, Kempton* (AW), Lingfield, Worcester*, Yarmouth

Thursday: Leopardstown*, Dundalk (AW), Doncaster, Epsom*, Folkestone*, Newmarket, Warwick

Friday: Cork*, Downpatrick, Chepstow*, Chester*, Hamilton*, Newbury, Newmarket, York

Saturday: Tipperary, Chester, Hamilton*, Newbury, Newmarket, Salisbury*, York

Sunday: Fairyhouse, Sligo, Perth, Southwell, Stratford

Irish Independent

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