Joe Fanning, who has ridden no fewer than 180 winners this year and has accumulated the best part of 1,100 mounts, could be excused for showing signs of fatigue, but he looks as fresh now as he did in January and the North Yorkshire jockey can underline his continuing good form by completing a double at Lingfield this afternoon – before he journeys on to Wolverhampton’s evening fixture.
The energetic rider teams up with former stable-mate Keith Dalgleish in the B & CE’s 70th Anniversary Handicap and can take the honours with Bassett Road.
Dalgleish has made a tremendous fist of training since weight problems brought his riding career to a halt at Mark Johnston’s yard, where he worked alongside Fanning for a number of seasons.
The two friends of the weighing room have since enjoyed considerable success together and Bassett Road promises to be a useful addition to the Dalgleish stable in Lanarkashire.
Previously trained in Newmarket by Willie Musson, for whom he won at Salisbury last month, the four-year-old does have an all-weather success to his credit. He should go well in this seven-furlong event.
Fanning can also score on Ring For Baileys in the second division of the 32Red Casino Handicap.
Trained by Chris Dwyer, the three-year-old carried Fanning to a decisive three lengths victory at Wolverhampton last weekend.
She is set to race off an 8lb higher mark this time, but she’s clearly in form and is fancied to take plenty of beating.
Spin the clock back two or three years and Dorback was a useful and highly-regarded horse at the yard of Henry Candy.
His career was subsequently spoiled by a couple of injuries, but the gelding is now with David Nicholls in North Yorkshire, and although not the force he once was, he is still capable, as he showed when winning at Southwell last week.
The five-year-old turns out again in the first leg of the 32Red Casino Handicap and could be hard to catch. Adrian Nicholls has the mount.
Also worth noting are Royal Aquisition (12.10), who showed promise first time out, and Rugosa (1.55), who advertised a decent level of ability on turf earlier in the year.
The Charlie Hills-trained three-year-old returns after a three-month absence and will also be making her all-weather debut.
But it would be no surprise to see her go well for York jockey Robert Winston, who is continuing to knock in the winners as he aims to get his century before the end of the year. The atrocious wet weather is taking its toll on jump racing and, with Towcester already abandoned tomorrow due to waterlogging, a morning inspection today will determine the prospects of Exeter taking place as scheduled tomorrow.
The £10,000 Poppies Pursuit Handicap Chase is the feature race on the card and Be Definite should make a bold bid to continue the run of success of Tom George and Paddy Brennan.
Trainer and jockey struck with this horse at Stratford three weeks ago when Be Definite, having taken the lead at the final fence, came home with seven lengths to spare after his closest pursuer departed. He has been raised only 5lb for that success and is weighted to go well again.
Tony McCoy can get Exeter punters off to a winning start with American Legend in the South West Salute Spartans Handicap Hurdle. Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding was a winner at Ffos Las on his latest start.
The nap vote goes to the Alan King-trained Godsmejudge, who finished a creditable second on his fencing debut at Stratford and looks set to go one better in the Help The Heroes Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
11.40 Dream Abut You, 12.10 Royal Acquisition, 12.45 Multitask, 1.20 Bassett Road, 1.55 Rugosa, 2.25 Dorback, 3.00 Ring For Baileys, 3.35 Loyal Royal.
Today’s other meetings: Ascot, Haydock and Wolverhampton.
Exeter (tomorrow, inspection at 8am today)
1.05 American Legend, 1.35 Godsmejudge (NAP), 2.05 Financial Climate, 2.35 Be Definite, 3.05 Bygones Sovereign, 3.35 Sahrati.
Tomorrow’s meeting at Towcester was abandoned due to a waterlogged track.