A jockey from Northern Ireland may be the toast of Town Moor today, but this time the rider in question is not Tony McCoy, but a young woman making her way in the racing world whom few casual followers of the sport will have yet heard of.
Antrim-born Sam Bell gets her chance to shine when partnering Hi There in the Betfred November Handicap, Doncaster’s highlight this afternoon and the traditional farewell act of the Flat turf season.
Bell was highly regarded in Ireland before joining Richard Fahey at Malton, where she has continued her climb up the ladder with a dozen winners this campaign, including Hi There (3.35 Doncaster) at Newbury last time out.
This mile and a half is longer than the four-year-old has travelled before, but he is staying further as he matures and gave the distinct impression when making light of the Berkshire mud that he would improve for another step up in distance.
Conduct appears to have been laid out for the race by William Haggas, but an outside draw is not ideal and might even make the difference between victory and defeat.
Good apprentices can be worth their weight in gold while they are still claiming a weight allowance and another rider many punters have latched on to this season is Oisin Murphy, although most of them only after the Killarney-born youngster had notched up a 9,260-1 four-timer at Ayr in September.
Murphy is reunited with one from that quartet, Levitate (1.50 Doncaster), back at the level of form which enabled him to win Doncaster’s traditional turf curtain-raiser, the Lincoln, back in March.
We can expect Eton Rifles to make a bold bid to win the Wentworth Stakes for the second year running, but this time he may have to give best to the nicely weighted Spinatrix (2.25 Doncaster), better drawn than when just touched off at this course 15 days ago.
It has taken a while for the penny to drop, but the steadily improving Cushion (3.00 Doncaster) looks ready to win a Listed race after going close at Newmarket last time.
While late-season Flat racers slog through testing ground, it is the last of the summer ground for the jumpers at Wincanton, with Pantxoa and Standing Ovation two horses out to plunder the good first prize attached to the Badger Ales Chase before the going turns against them.
Standing Ovation is on a four-timer and the handicapper might not yet have his measure, but Pantxoa (2.40 Wincanton), from an Alan King stable in sizzling form, has also run up a sequence of wins this autumn and there may be more to come.
King also has very high hopes for Meister Eckhart (3.15 Wincanton), who makes his debut over fences in the quickly renamed Congratulations AP McCoy Rising Stars Novices’ Chase, but my banker bet at the Somerset venue is Karinga Dancer (2.05 Wincanton), so impressive at Aintree last time and fancied to take this step up in grade in his stride.
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