Trainers Tim Easterby and Richard Fahey to spearhead north’s Racing League challenge
The new initiative will see 12 teams compete across 36 races –with each event worth £50,000 and total prize-money of £1.8million – over six weeks at Doncaster, Newcastle, Lingfield and Windsor.
Brothers Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien will form the Irish team, while Charlie Fellowes, Hugo Palmer and George Scott are combining to form the first Newmarket-based squad.
There are three teams in the south, comprising of Andrew Balding and Richard Hannon as one side, George Baker, David Menuisier, Gary Moore and Amanda Perrett as another, with Wiltshire-based trainers Roger Charlton, Alan King, Martyn Meade and Brian Meehan also banding together.
Six teams are still to be announced, with each outfit nominating 30 horses and three jockeys, plus a team manager who will decide on a selection for each race.
Oli Harris, Racing League’s chief marketing officer, said: “We’re thrilled by the broad range of support from trainers. We will shortly confirm the remaining six teams followed by details of the jockeys chosen to represent each team.”
In a change to previously stated rules, and with regard for the British Horseracing Authority’s review of the current whip rules due to be published next year, the competition will no longer be a ‘hands and heels’ event in 2021.
Presenting Percy got back to winning ways in fine style in the boomerang.ie Chase at Thurles in Ireland.
In a high-class affair, it was the Gordon Elliott-trained nine-year-old, the only runner in the field who had the benefit of a previous run this season, who came out on top.
Rachael Blackmore tried to make all on Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth Monalee – but both Kemboy and Presenting Percy were travelling ominously well behind him before turning for home.
At the third-last Presenting Percy (3-1) jumped up on Monalee’s inside for a share of the lead, while 11-10 favourite Kemboy was just behind as Darasso found it all too much.
The three jumped the second from home almost in a line, but on landing Presenting Percy –having his second run for Elliott after moving from Pat Kelly – left Kemboy in his wake, winning by six and a half lengths for Jack Kennedy.
Kennedy said: “He did it very well, he had race-fitness on his side but he put in an exhibition of jumping and quickened up well at the back of the second-last.
“I had sat on him previously at home, but he is very straightforward and is a dream to ride.
“He jumps and travels away and I was happy at all stages.
“I was delighted with the way he travelled and I was nearly half-taking him back going across the top I was going that easy.
“That win might do him the world of good and hopefully he can keep going after that.”
Magical remains in full training and is being aimed towards the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin next month.
Aidan O’Brien’s multiple Group One winner was last seen being caught late on by Dermot Weld’s Tarnawa in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, which followed on from her meritorious run in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.
O’Brien has enjoyed a bonus season with the five-year-old whatever happens in Hong Kong, as it was assumed she was going to be retired this time last year.
The decision to keep her in training has been well rewarded, with Group One victories in the Pretty Polly Stakes, the Tattersalls Gold Cup and a barnstorming display in the Irish Champion Stakes.
“At the moment the plan is to take her to Hong Kong,” said O’Brien.
“She’s still in full work at the moment and that’s what we are looking at the minute.
“She ran very well in America, we were very happy with her at the Breeders’ Cup.”
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