Collins looking for more Lingfield joy with 'Captain'
Tracey Collins's 2015 course winner Captain Joy has recovered from colic surgery to lead a five-strong Irish challenge on this afternoon's valuable conclusion to Lingfield's winter all-weather series.
The Dark Angel seven-year-old has recorded each of its eight victories on all-weather surfaces.
He returned from eight months off to triumph at Dundalk last month, and will break from stall eight under Pat Smullen in today's £150,000 mile contest, a race that he was denied less than a length in when third last year.
"It wasn't the plan just to have the one run with him before going back to Lingfield, but he had colic surgery and wasn't a very well horse at all," Curragh-based Collins explained. "We were always hoping that we would be able to get him back for Good Friday, but it was a bit in the lap of the gods.
"We managed to get him to the fast-track qualifier at Dundalk and he won and qualified. All has been good with him since. I am very happy with him at the moment and he is in great form.
"He ran a cracking race last year. It looks all set to be very competitive, which you would expect it to be."
Tipperary handler David Marnane will saddle Seanie for Graham Lee in the same race, and he and Smullen combine with the first-time-blinkered Shalaman in the long-distance event. Mick Halford has booked Shane Foley for Russian Soul in the six-furlong sprint that boasts the same £150,000 purse, while Gavin Cromwell's Political Policy is the only raider on duty in the £200,000 10-furlong event.
Another eight-time Dundalk winner, the consistent five-year-old will be ridden by Ronan Whelan. They have a plum inside draw in stall one, though the bookmakers may have underestimated the shrewd Co Meath man's talents by installing Political Policy at odds of 40/1.
At Thurles yesterday, Andrew Lynch enjoyed a slice of luck when Mary Louise Hallahan's Kansas City Chief (7/1) capitalised on the last-fence exit of clear leader Hurricane Darwin to take the longer beginners' chase. Lynch doubled up on Eoghan O'Grady's 6/1 shot Mick The Jiver in the handicap hurdle, while the outcome of the bumper was overturned by the stewards.
Tom Hogan's Cant Wait passed the post a nose in front of Arena Seven, but Gillian Callaghan's Paul Bannon-ridden 33/1 shot was promoted after being carried left on the run to the line.