Advantage London after Sean Levey’s hat-trick lights up first night of Racing League at Doncaster

Sean Levey took the riding plaudits on the opening night of the second edition of the Racing League, as he partnered a treble at Doncaster for Matt Chapman’s table-topping London and The South team who bagged four winners overall.

TV presenter Chapman had been very vocal before the competition got under way and luckily for him his team backed him up, standing tall on 174 points.

With Richard Hannon and Andrew Balding providing the bulk of his runners on Town Moor, and with the likes of Charlie Hills and Mick Channon to call on in later weeks, Chapman’s team were always going to be ones to watch.

But four winners on the first night perhaps surpassed even their expectations.

Capital gains: Jockey Sean Levey rode three winners for Team London and The South in the Racing League at Doncaster. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

The new regional format has proved popular and while the scoring system might still require a calculator, there is no doubt this year’s edition is a big improvement.

Chapman certainly thinks so after the victories of System in the opener and Zabbie in race three, both trained by Hannon, while the Balding-trained Scampi (9-1) won over 12 furlongs and Nicola Currie sealed the night when bolting up in the last aboard Dean Ivory’s Pledge Of Honour (11-2).

“It just shows the problems with the other captains!” he said.

“They are not listening to the big players in the game. I did and I got the result. It’s a team game and I’m playing the team game.

Relieved: Yorkshire captain Leonna Mayor. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

“I can’t thank Richard enough for running those two horses. With System he was insistent he ran while he was always running Zabbie.”

Levey said: “To have a double for the boss (Hannon) is great and whenever you ride for Andrew Balding you always think you have a chance because his horses are in great form. I know Mr Balding from last year’s league, we were in the same team then as well. It’s great to have three winners.”

He added: “I quite like wearing this armband (for leading jockey). I’ve never had one before, I think I might keep it! Chapman is a bit much, but he’s enjoying himself at least.”

Mick Quinn’s Team North got off the mark in race four with the progressive sprinter Juan Les Pins (13-2), an easy winner for Paul Hanagan.

Like Chapman, Leonna Mayor was combining her role as team manager with presenting duties and admitted to feeling relieved when Mattice (8-1) helped lift Yorkshire from the lower reaches of the table.

“I’m really chuffed to get a winner as I really did not want to leave a Yorkshire track without one,” said Mayor, whose squad sits second on 128 points, just ahead of Jamie Osborne’s Wales and The West (125).

“I’ve felt the stress because you have trainers putting horses forward, but I was having to say I’ve already promised so and so. To a point it’s first come, first serve as it’s not for me to decide what is well handicapped, I can only trust what people tell me. The problem is they all think they are well handicapped!”

Yorkshire courses Thirsk and Catterick and doing their bit to make racing an attractive proposition for families this summer.

Thirsk has introduced a family ticket which costs £20 and allows entry for two adults plaus accompanied children into the Grandstand, Paddock and Picnic enclosures and can be used at all meetings at the tracks until September 12.

Tonight, the track is staging a Circus Family Day wich includes clowns, balloon modelling, face painting and a bouncy castle.

Later this month, on Friday, August 26, Thirsk are staging an All Greatures Great and Small Family Day, celebrating the town’s links to famous TV vet James Herriott and again there are numerous attractions for young racegoers, including a petting farm and fairground stalls.

“We know that families are always looking for affordable days out and our Family Ticket provides parents with the perfect opportunity to enjoy a day’s racing while knowing that the kids will have plenty to entertain them,” says Erin Boswell, Thirsk’s sales and marketing manager.

Catterick are staging a family day on Monday, August 15 where younger fans can test their sporting skills on a nine-hole crazy golf course, along with  as well as a treasure hunt and a draw to win tickets for a Lightwater Valley.

Advanced booking discounts are available online with adult tickets starting at just £5 for the Course Enclosure, or £15 for the Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure.

Tickets are also available chase on the day, while under-18s go free. In addition, there is a free shuttle bus which brings racegoers to and from the racecourse from Richmond Market Place.