THIS has already been a season to remember for Ruth Carr thanks to stable star Sovereign Debt’s three high-profile wins – and a host of gallant runs in defeat.
Yet, while the evergreen eight-year-old – formerly trained by the late David Nicholls – attempts to defy top weight in Newmarket’s Group Three Darley Club Stakes, Pipers Note represents the Huby handler in today’s season-end Coral Sprint Trophy at York.
Like Sovereign Debt who continues to excel over a mile, Pipers Note is also illustrative of Carr’s uncanny ability to get the most out of the older horses at her disposal.
This is the seven-year-old’s 48th career start and the handicapper is taking no chances in this six furlong heat with a horse who was fourth in the corresponding contest 12 months ago on what was his first start for Carr since leaving Richard Whitaker, and then second in Ripon’s historic Great St Wilfrid in August.
“He’s held his form remarkably well and is still in good form with himself,” said Carr.
“The more the ground dries out, the better for him so that looks like it might be coming in his favour.
“He was fourth in this race last year and he’s only 1lb higher this season.
“With Jimmy (Sullivan) going to Newmarket to ride Sovereign Debt, we’ve also got Lewis Edmunds taking 3lb off which is useful, he’s someone we use quite a bit.”
Expert Eye puts his unbeaten record and huge reputation on the line in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
It is 31 years since Sir Michael Stoute claimed his first and only victory in the seven-furlong Group One with Ajdal, a horse who would ultimately make his mark as a top-class sprinter the following season, after running in the 2000 Guineas and Derby. Expert Eye has made just two appearances, but created such a deep impression on both his Newbury debut and when winning the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood at the start of August that he is odds-on.
Meanwhile man of the moment PJ McDonald, victorious in yesterday’s Bet365 Fillies Mile on the karl Burke-trained Laurens, has high hopes of a big race double when he partners Mark Johnston’s Time To Study in the Betfred Cesarewitch over two and a quarter miles.
Finian’s Oscar will face three rivals on his chasing debut in the totequadpot Novices’ Chase at Chepstow today.
One of last season’s leading novice hurdlers with two Grade One wins to his name, leading trainer Colin Tizzard has wasted no time in sending him over the bigger obstacles given he came from the pointing fields.
He’ll be ridden by former Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning rider Bryan Cooper as part of a new riding arrangement agreed this week with Barnsley-born owner Alan Potts.
“Bryan was in on Thursday morning and had a sit on him and schooled him over half a dozen fences.
“He was really good, so it’s all systems go,” said Tizzard’s son and assistant Joe.