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Donald McCain’s all-round ability to come good at Pontefract
Donald McCain may be best known for his massive exploits as a trainer of jumpers, but the Cheshire handler is also pretty adept at turning out Flat winners and he can make his mark for the first time at Pontefract this evening.
McCain pulled off a remarkable one-two in last month’s Chester Cup with Ile de Re and Overpower, and also won another race at Chester with Absinthe.
Tonight he is represented by Emrani in the Tony Bethell Memorial Handicap and Graham Lee’s mount has every chance of coming out on top.
Emrani finished second to Veloce at Haydock ten days ago, and that form was franked when the winner won again on his next outing.
My Arch, Descaro and Wells Lyrical, three North Yorkshire horses who are all previous course winners, are among the dangers to Emrani, but this could be another Flat winner for McCain to add to the hundreds he turns out over jumps.
Lee, whose transition from jumps to Flat has been ever so smooth, has double prospects aboard Forget Me Not Lane in the Read Hayley At racinguk.com Every Friday Handicap.
Trained by Kevin Ryan for Jack Hanson, Forget Me Not Lane is a fast-improving performer. He got off the mark last month at Redcar and has since followed up in comfortable style at Newcastle when stepped up to ten furlongs.
This race represents a step further up in class, but Forget Me Not Lane is progressive individual and there looks to be more to come from him.
In the Mr Wolf Sprint Handicap, named after the course specialist who runs in the concluding race on the card, Rafeej may be good enough to defy top weight under Paul Hanagan.
The Mark Johnston-trained three-year-old won both his races last season.
He has yet to click this term in two outings, but he ran a blinder last time out at Newmarket when beaten less than a length into fourth place by Mince in one of the most competitive three-year-old sprint handicaps of the season.
Rafeej has to concede weight all round tonight, but he should have enough class to prevail and is napped to show his rivals a clean pair of heels.
Mr Wolf is sure to have his supporters in the Kids Picnic Package For £5 Handicap, but the veteran may find one or two of his rivals too sharp at the age of 11. Preference is for Select Committee, who has been running well lately and who finished on the heels of the principals at Redcar last week. John Quinn’s gelding may gain his just desserts this time with Michael O’Connell again in the saddle.
At Salisbury tomorrow, the nap selection is awarded to Sarangoo in the CGA Racing Excellence Apprentice Handicap.
Trained by Malcolm Saunders, who is a specialist with sprinters, Sarangoo is an infrequent winner, but she ran a solid race in defeat over this course and distance last month when going down by only a neck.
Ian Burns has the mount tomorrow and is fancied to steer Sarangoo to victory.
Dulkashe, trained by the in-form Luca Cumani, is selected to lift the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing Margardale Fillies’ Handicap.
A winner at Haydock on her comeback outing three weeks ago, Dulkashe has little mileage on the clock and is open to any amount of improvement.
Also worth noting at Salisbury are the promising Juvenal (3.30) and the consistent Chatterer (5.05), who is overdue a winning turn.
6.50 Agent Allison, 7.20 Emrani, 7.50 Rafeej (NAP), 8.20 Forget Me Not Lane, 8.50 Northern Bolt, 9.20 Select Committee.
Today’s other meetings
Folkestone, Newton Abbot and Windsor.
2.00 Boleyn, 2.30 Red Adair, 3.00 Bunce, 3.30 Juvenal, 4.05 Dulkashe, 4.35 Rocky Reef, 5.05 Chatterer, 5.35 Sarangoo NAP).
Tomorrow’s other meetings
Brighton, Lingfield and Southwell.