RUTH CARR hopes the ‘horses for courses’ adage will pay off when stable stalwart Pipers Note lines up in the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap – Ripon’s feature race of the year.
This is the horse which is now an eight-time course winner at the North Yorkshire track following two crowd-pleasing victories in recent weeks. It matches the eight wins accrued by Sue and Harvey Smith’s Mister McGoldrick at his beloved Wetherby.
Yet, despite Pipers Note excelling at Ripon, this historic six furlong handicap has remained elusive. Fifth and fourth in 2014 and 2016 respectively when in the care of Richard Whitaker, the gelding appears to have taken on a new lease of life since joining the Carr team in the autumn of 2016.
He was second to Mattmu 12 months ago and North Yorkshire-based Carr, whose stable has enjoyed several notable successes with the extremely durable Sovereign Debt, is hopeful of another big run by the James Sullivan-ridden Pipers Note.
“He absolutely loves the place. He’s won his last two there and I’m really looking forward to it,” she said. “As he’s got older, he’s able to handle softer ground better than when he was younger, so fast ground isn’t as important as it once was.
“It was a good performance last time out and I honestly don’t know what it is about the place he loves so much. Some horses handle the undulations better than others and he is obviously one of those.”
Mattmu’s trainer Tim Easterby runs Flying Pursuit and Golden Apollo, who were first and second in the Sky Bet Dash at York three weeks ago.
Easterby admits there is little to choose between the pair. “We can’t split them at home, so we’ll see,” said the Great Habton trainer.
Meanwhile Richard Fahey has a four-strong team – Kimberella, Growl, Brian The Snail and Marie Of Lyon – as he bids for a third win in this big sprint handicap.
Kimberella was second in this race in 2015 and clearly retains plenty of ability after winning at Chester last time.
“He holds the track record there and we’re very happy with him,” said Fahey.
Growl is a regular in these events and put up a typically creditable effort when third in the Stewards’ Cup two weeks ago. “He’s knocking on the door. With slower ground and a bit of luck, he could win one of these,” said Fahey.
Marie Of Lyon was down the field in the Goodwood showpiece, but Fahey felt the filly did not get the chance to produce her best form while Brian The Snail’s best form is invariably on the gallops.
Settrington trainer John Quinn’s Royal Ascot heroine, Signora Cabello, seeks Group One glory in France tomorrow.
She lines up in the Prix Morny at Deauville under Frankie Dettori after connections opted to swerve York’s upcoming Ebor meeting.
Victorious in the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting when Oisin Murphy was in the saddle, she then proved her class by winning the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte.
Yorkshire-trained rivals in the Morny include Marie’s Diamond from Mark Johnston’s yard as well as the Karl Burke pair of True Mason and Comedy.
Meanwhile Murphy will be in action at Pontefract for Qatar Racing where Golden Spell appears at the track for former Derby-winning jockey Johnny Murtagh, now an accomplished trainer in Ireland.
Jockeys will swap roles when Thirsk Racecourse stages its first charity race for stable staff on August 31 in aid of Racing Welfare.
In a role reversal, jockeys will lead-up the 12 stable staff riders, who will be racing over one mile for the experience of a lifetime.
This is the first time the jockeys have offered to lead-up in Britain and leading rider Paul Mulrennan said: “We are excited to be doing this as stable staff are the unsung heroes of racing. I just hope we do as good a job as they do.”
The riders have been nominated to participate by their respective trainers. “We are delighted to be involved,” said Malton-based Richard Fahey.