Thirsk-based Phillip Makin, whose two biggest successes of 2012 were achieved on Knavesmire, makes his return to action tomorrow at Lingfield with a fine chance of clinching the feature sprint on the aptly-named York Glory.
Trained at Hambleton by Kevin Ryan, the jockey’s principal supporter, York Glory lines up in the £37,000 bluesquare.com Cleves Stakes over six furlongs.
This useful course and distance winner is napped to take all the beating after his narrow defeat by Piscean on his comeback outing, which was his first start since last November. He can reverse form with the winner this time on identical terms.
Makin, who has taken the winter off, has been riding out for the past fortnight to sharpen his fitness.
His 60 winners last season included the Gimcrack Stakes on Blaine and the richly-endowed Doncaster Bloodstock St Leger Stakes on Hototo, both trained by Ryan, whose successes ensured a highly-profitable York August Festival for both jockey and trainer.
York Glory, himself a horse who has tasted Knavesmire triumph, is a pretty smart sprinter on his day. Makin will be keeping his fingers crossed that tomorrow is that day as he aims to return to action in a blaze of glory.
Makin and Ryan also team up with Le Toreador in the closing bluesq.com Handicap and the Guy Reed-owned gelding looks sure to go well.
But he tends to be more effective in claiming company these days and he may have to settle for a place behind the in-form Picansort.
The best horse running at Lingfield is Planteur in the £37,000 Blue Square Winter Derby Trial.
A Group 1 winner, Marco Botti’s high-ranking charge has not been seen since being well beaten behind the mighty Frankel on that unforgettable day on Knavesmire last August in the Juddmonte International. His class should stand him in good stead here under Adam Kirby.
Black Cadillac may be the best conveyance for punters in the handicap final of the Blue Square Bet Sprint Series.
The Andrew Balding-trained gelding won a recent qualifier in nice style under Daniel Muscutt, who takes the ride again tomorrow and whose 7lb claim will come in handy on a horse who has been raised 5lb for his win.
The best of today’s jumping action takes place at Sandown, where the £18,500 Kilbrittain Castle Novices’ Chase takes pride of place.
This two-mile contest has attracted only three runners, the pick of which is Fago, the highest-rated of the trio, but a faller last time out at Warwick.
Paul Nicholls’ gelding looked likely to win that day when departing two from home and leaving Majala to take the spoils. He can gain valuable compensation this afternoon.
Tony McCoy has a couple of useful-looking rides for David Pipe, whose stable jockey Tom Scudamore is set to be in action at Warwick today. McCoy and Pipe can click with Shotavodka (2.55), a 12-lengths winner at Taunton last time, and Leader Of The Gang (4.00), who has shaped well on both his outings this season.
1.45 Thundering Home, 2.20 Keki Buku, 2.55 Shotavodka, 3.25 Fago, 4.00 Leader Of The Gang, 4.30 Circus Of Dreams, 5.05 Act Four.
Today’s other meetings: Warwick, Lingfield and Wolverhampton.
1.20 Huffoof, 1.55 Black Cadillac, 2.30 York Glory (NAP), 3.05 Planteur, 3.40 Big Sylv, 4.15 Stentorian, 4.50 Picansort.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Chepstow, Kempton and Newcastle.