Born in Newcastle on Pitmen’s Derby day in 1952 – the trainer will be 64 next Tuesday – his ambition in life has always been to win this two-mile heritage handicap.
He thought Seamour had a great chance 12 months ago, but the favourite could not get into a winning position from the widest of draws and had to settle for sixth place behind Quest for More.
However, the five-year-old horse has fared better on that score this time, being allotted stall 12, and Malton-based Ellison declared: “He’s in the best shape possible, we’ve kept him very fresh for this.
“He should have won last year but he was beaten by the draw and had to have too much use made of him.
“I’ve always wanted to win this and I’ve felt for a couple of years this is the horse that will do it for me.”
Angel Gabrial won this race off a mark of 96 two years ago and was a respectable fourth last year when rated 103. His mark is the same this time round but has more weight to carry.
As a result, his trainer Richard Fahey – also based in Malton – has handed the ride to 7lb claimer Adam McNamara.
“The handicapper knows how good Angel Gabrial is. We’re taking 7lb off hopefully that will help him,” said the handler.
Fahey has a useful second string to his bow in Gabrial The Hero, the mount of stable jockey Tony Hamilton.
The seven-year-old has claims on his run in the Chester Cup when he was fourth behind No Heretic who reopposes today as Nicky Henderson’s horse looks to atone for a poor run at Royal Ascot.
“Gabrial The Hero has won on the all-weather so this surface shouldn’t be a problem and we’re happy with him,” said Fahey.
Meanwhile, Fahey’s Mr Lupton steps up in grade to tackle the Betfred Chipchase Stakes on the undercard to the Northumberland Plate – the whole fixture has an added dimension because the races will be staged on the recently installed Tapeta all-weather surface for the first time,
“He’s progressing along nicely and we’re happy with him,” said the trainer. “He has to step up again, but he might as long as he handles the all-weather.
“It took him a while to come to himself this year, but in the last month we’ve been happy with him and we’re even happier with him now.”
Buratino took the Group Two Coventry Stakes last summer and has been placed twice at the top level, but this season has not gone to plan so far.
Well beaten in the Qipco 2000 Guineas, the Mark Johnston-trained colt showed signs of a revival when fourth to Karl Burke’s Quiet Reflection, the Yorkshire horse of 2016 to date, in the Group Two Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock last month.
However Middleham-based Johnston believes the three-year-old will be suited by the Tapeta surface.
EPSOM hero Harzand remains an intended runner in Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby after satisfying trainer Dermot Weld in a workout. The Sea The Stars colt survived a late scare after spreading a plate to claim Investec Derby glory and is set to follow the likes of Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Camelot (2012) and Australia (2014) by becoming a dual Derby winner.
David Elsworth’s Arabian Queen – winner of York’s Juddmonte International – is unlikely to take her chance in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown next Saturday after meeting with a setback.
Middleham jockey Henry Brooke has a phenomenal record at Cartmel which continued when he partnered Jimmy Moffatt’s Altruism to victory yesterday.
Brooke and Cumbrian-based Moffatt teamed up last December when Highland Lodge won the Becher Chase over Aintree’s Grand National fences.