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Mick Easterby’s Hoofalong to tee up success at Beverley finale
Beverley brings down the curtain on its 2012 campaign tomorrow as Hoofalong returns to the track after spending much of the season conspicuous by his absence.
The Mick Easterby-trained youngster, part-owned by top golfer Lee Westwood and sharing a similar name to the same connections’ high-class sprinter Hoof It, made his debut at York in May and went into many notebooks.
Despite starting at 25-1, he belied those odds by finishing second, beaten only half a length by Lastchancelucas, in a pretty warm conditions race for the time of year.
Hoofalong may have had a setback subsequently to have been off for so long, but the good news is he’s back tomorrow for the Thanks For Your Support In 2012 Maiden Stakes. With James Sullivan in the saddle, the Sheriff Hutton juvenile is fancied to make up for lost time.
The £10,300 Betfred Violet And Eddie Smith Memorial Stakes takes pride of place on Beverley’s concluding programme and Free Zone may emerge the winner from this tightly-knit event.
Trained at Hambleton by Bryan Smart, the three-year-old finished third to the classy Mince at York on his latest start after filling sixth place over this course and distance behind Borderlescott in the Beverley Bullet last month.
Free Zone is a smart sprinter on his day and he promises to give Tom Eaves a good ride here.
Paul Hanagan ventures north primarily to ride Altharoos for his retaining owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum in the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing Maiden Stakes.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt has run twice already, finishing third at Newbury on his debut before going down by a nose when odds-on favourite at Brighton earier this month.
Although a defeat at Brighton tempers confidence in Altharoos, he deserves another chance, though he may need to be on his mettle to get the better of the promising Wyldfire.
Muftarres, thankfully none the worse for being partnered by yours truly when finishing eigth in the recent Leger Legends at Doncaster, turns out for the George Kilburn Memorial Handicap over seven and a half furlongs.
Trained by Paul Midgley, Muftarres felt a million dollars and ran well at Doncaster, but found the rain-soaked ground and a slightly inconvenient draw counting against him when the chips were down.
He had previously won over this course and distance and, having been dropped 2lb by the handicapper, he is entitled to go well for Russ Kennemore, who knows a little better than did his previous pilot!
The nap vote goes to Mark Johnston’s Alkadi (4.40), a Pontefract winner last month, who will relish being back on the turf after two decent all-weather efforts.
The forecast of heavy rain in Scotland tonight has put a question mark over Hamilton, where a dawn inspection was planned to determine whether today’s meeting can take place. Tony Hamilton and Richard Fahey will be among those hoping the green light is granted.
The Malton partnership can complete a double with She’s A Character and nap selection Cosmic Moon.
1.40 Fraserburgh, 2.10 Jack Luey, 2.40 She’s A Character, 3.10 Danchai, 3.40 Cosmic Moon (NAP), 4.10 Sparking, 4.40 Bonnie Prince Blue, 5.10 Sandwith.
Today’s other meetings
Kempton and Leicester.
2.10 Future Wonder, 2.40 Hoofalong, 3.10 Free Zone, 3.40 Altharoos, 4.10 Muftarres, 4.40 Alkadi (NAP), 5.10 Tiger Webb, 5.40 Shy.
Tomorrow’s other meetings
Folkestone and Newton Abbot.