Raglan Road seeks poetic justice

Perhaps Graham Wylie already knew the poem, when he spent £320,000 to buy On Raglan Road at the Doncaster Sales in May.

After all, the standard caveat to speculators – that the value of investments can go down as well as up – acquires an unusually literal sense when it comes to jumpers. As such, maybe those who christened the horse were mindful of one line, in particular, in Patrick Kavanagh's poem: "I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way."

As Howard Johnson's chief patron, however, Wylie has now been in racing long enough to have acquired due perspective on its addictive highs and unsparing lows. And he knows that On Raglan Road arrives at Sandown today retaining every right to prove as solid an investment as Tidal Bay, who reaches a crossroads in his own career on tomorrow's card.

Back in 2006, Wylie had spent 300,000 guineas in the same ring to acquire Tidal Bay, likewise a bumper winner for another yard. Last spring, he won novice championships at both Cheltenham and Aintree, and tomorrow heads the opposition to Master Minded in the Seasons Holidays Tingle Creek Chase.

On Raglan Road, winner of a point-to-point and a Punchestown bumper, was given his debut over hurdles by his new connections at Hexham a couple of months ago, winning by a distance. He was then beaten at Aintree by another exciting prospect, Massasoit, but the pair pulled miles clear of two subsequent winners, and he certainly remains in step with Tidal Bay at the equivalent stage of his career.

Wylie and Johnson could do with a tonic after the injury suffered by their champion staying hurdler, Inglis Drever, at Newbury last weekend – and that is exactly what they should get from On Raglan Road (2.0).

Inglis Drever himself won the same race in his youth, and there are also one or two distinguished names on the roll of honour for the Blue Square Future Stars' Chase, including a subsequent Gold Cup winner in Looks Like Trouble.

Despite the usual small field, over this track stamina remains the obvious reservation about Barbers Shop, who travelled so strongly over two and a half miles when beaten only by Imperial Commander at Cheltenham last month. Roll Along (2.35) is duly taken to confirm the improvement implicit in his defeat of the subsequent Hennessy runner-up, Air Force One, on their Ascot reappearance. Roll Along certainly looked a far stronger stayer than one or two other protagonists when second in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at the Festival. The chances of both these horses will, of course, be obvious to the bookmakers, as well, but a bolder opportunity draws the eye to their ante-post lists on the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on 27 December.

Admittedly some of those persuaded to back High Chimes in the Hennessy will not be disposed to persevere with him, after he finished only sixth. But he cruised through the race, made ground easily from the rear and, after being briefly outpaced, stayed on steadily in the straight – despite having to be switched at least twice, not given a hard race when his chance had gone. All in all, he promised to be well suited by the extra distance at Chepstow, in a race close to the heart of his trainer, Evan Williams.

"He would have been nearly ready for the Hennessy, but I had half an eye on the Welsh National," Williams admitted yesterday. "And that would have been a great prep run. He might have been placed, had things worked out better. We dropped him in, in the hope they would go a million miles an hour – but they didn't and he pulled hard for the first mile and a half."

Williams has the same Chepstow card in mind for Simarian, one of the season's leading juveniles, and the Taunton bumper winner, Megabill – a half-brother to On Raglan Road, no less. But for now it is the 16-1 against High Chimes that seduces attention. Anyone who backed this horse at Newbury has seen the danger, but he still tempts "along the enchanted way".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power