Russell taps into a rich vein of success
Hogmanay must have been a fairly poignant occasion at Arlary House, where the close-knit team under Lucinda Russell experienced tragedy as well as triumph in 2012. But Scotland's leading trainer is determined to keep looking to the future and made a perfect start to 2013 by collecting three races in barely an hour at Ayr today.
Auspiciously, each of her winners is just starting out in a new discipline – dividends of a scrupulous recruitment policy. "We've got to be realistic, we're not paying stupid prices," Russell said. "But the big thing for us is to find good young horses. Because once we get them in, we think we have a fairly successful formula."
Russell has worked with the bloodstock agent Tom Malone in seeking replacements for Brindisi Breeze, killed in a freak accident after his breakthrough success at the Cheltenham Festival. But Tap Night, Russell's first winner in the silks of J P McManus, has less orthodox antecedents. He was found racing on dirt in Kentucky by Jane Buchanan, whose brother, Peter, is the stable jockey at Arlary. "She works for a trainer out there," Russell explained. "They don't have many staying races, and she looks for horses that are finishing. Tap Night has actually got a pretty strong pedigree. I don't suppose his breeders imagined he would end up winning a novice chase in heavy ground."
He looked a natural, however, in recording his fifth win in six starts. Though losing momentum three out, he was soon back on the bridle and coasted five lengths clear. "Obviously, he had done a lot of schooling," Russell said. "The syndicate decided to sell after his reappearance, and if you tell someone a horse is going to do well over fences you make sure you come up with the goods. The main thing now is more experience, and there's a valuable race over two and a half miles coming up at Musselburgh."
Green Flag, under a double penalty, and Imjoeking both won novice hurdles. "Green Flag is a different type from Brindisi Breeze," Russell said. "He's stronger, and loves soft ground. But he just keeps galloping. At some point we'll step Imjoeking up in trip, but he's showing so much pace we'll keep to two miles at the moment. Both will be fantastic this time next year."
For now, the horse in the stable furthest down the road is Bold Sir Brian, who heads for the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock on Saturday fortnight and will be given an entry in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Al's Memory (3.20 Lingfield) Fairly treated after a 3lb rise for his short-head second to a flourishing rival round Wolverhampton last time.
Sporting Gold (2.50 Lingfield) Much improved on handicap debut, having been gelded, and could win this without harming his rating.
One to watch
Blood Cotil (Willie Mullins) Looks the top Irish candidate for the JCB Triumph Hurdle after his win at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting.
WHERE THE MONEY'S GOING
Alfie Spinner is 10-1 from 14-1 with the sponsors for the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on Saturday.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer latest: Arsene Wenger set to sign...no one on transfer deadline day as manager heads to Rome to referee charity match
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal offloads fringe players as he looks to the long term
Radamel Falcao transfer latest: Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City linked with blockbuster move
Tottenham to offer Andros Townsend to Southampton in £14m deadline day bid for Jay Rodriguez
Tottenham vs Liverpool player ratings: Who was the star man? Raheem Sterling? Alberto Moreno? Or new-boy Mario Balotelli?
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...