Lee rolls back the years with rejuvenated band of veterans

 

Having long secured the fidelity of regulars at tracks like Ludlow and Hereford, Richard Lee is on a roll that warrants rather broader attention. After two more winners at Chepstow last Saturday, the indefatigable Marked Man attempts to maintain his trainer's momentum when contesting his 67th steeplechase at Leicester today, three weeks short of his 16th birthday.

Another veteran, Victory Gunner, has already testified to the competitive longevity of horses in Lee's care by winning three of his first four starts since entering the stable at the age of 13. "But these old horses are so easy to train," Lee said yesterday. "They nearly train themselves. You just learn their foibles and quirks, and pander to them."

Marked Man registered the first of 11 career wins at Aintree back in 2002, shortly after arriving from Ireland. "He's a born racehorse," Lee said. "I'm sure he'll tell us he has had enough, some day, but it won't be any time soon judging from the form he's in."

Necessarily, however, it is at the other end of the spectrum that he discovers optimism for the future. "The horses have been running well, but the fact is we've got some very nice ones," he said, nominating Hector's Choice and Young Victoria as prospects worth following.

Another, Russe Blanc, has unusual antecedents – by an obscure French stallion, and one of those rare thoroughbreds registered as white, he cost just £8,000 at Doncaster before winning a bumper on his debut. "I'd just arrived at the sales," Lee remembered, "and was walking past the parade ring when I stopped and thought: 'What a lovely horse.' The dam's pedigree is quite good. Even if he didn't make a racehorse, I thought he might have some appeal on the event market. He ran very well in his first hurdle, and he'll go to Hereford on Sunday."

His Chepstow winners included another novice in Knock A Hand. "A proper horse," Lee said, "a great, big scopey animal. He'd won point-to-points in Ireland, so we knew he'd stay, but he's by Lend A Hand and I suppose that's where he gets his speed. I expect we'll look for something around Christmas."

His other winner was an old favourite in Le Beau Bai, in the doldrums since finishing third in the 2009 Coral Welsh National – a target once again, if only enough horses drop out for him to make the cut. "It was a particular pleasure to see the little horse bounce back [to win at Chepstow on Saturday]," Lee said. "One word is all it takes to explain: ground. The last time he had heavy going was two years ago, when he won the same race. He does like Chepstow, but then it's a real stayers' track – and he's a proper stayer."

Turf account

Chris McGrath's nap

Forestside (2.50 Hexham) Yard among the winners at Sedgefield yesterday and this one looks primed to retrieve the form he showed when scoring twice over course and distance in the summer.

Next best

Spice Bar (2.30 Leicester) Good strike rate since joining Declan Carroll and looked better than this rating at Musselburgh, clear when unseating three out, and better again back over this distance.

One to watch

Skippers Brig (Nicky Richards) gave a progressive rival a start when making his comeback at Kelso on Sunday and did well to mount a challenge before just flattening out on the run-in.

Where the money's going

With his novice chasing campaign suspended for a return to timber at Cheltenham on Saturday, Menorah is 12-1 from 25-1 for the Champion Hurdle with Paddy Power.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

PPC Co-Ordinator – Permanent - West Sussex – £24-£30k

£24000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Are you a Marketin...

Senior Asset Manager

£70000 - £75000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Katie Robinson +44 (...

IT Support Analyst (2nd Line Support) - City, London

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare: Ashdown Group: IT Support Ana...

KS1 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: KS1 Teaching Specialist Leic...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor