Jimmy FitzGerald, who retired last month after a racing career, as a trainer and jockey, which spanned some 50 years, has a race named after him at Doncaster tomorrow.

The Jimmy FitzGerald Handicap, over two-and-a-quarter miles, honours the man who sent out Evichstar to win the Lincoln Handicap at this meeting in 1990, and whose major training victories on the Flat also included the Ebor Handicap at York with Sapience in 1989.

Over jumps, FitzGerald trained six Cheltenham Festival winners, including Forgive'N Forget, who won the Gold Cup in 1985. His riding career spanned more than 200 winners, before a crashing fall, ironically at Doncaster in 1976, left him with a fractured skull and forced his retirement from riding.

Jimmy, who handed over the reins of his Norton Grange establishment to his son and long-time assistant Tim FitzGerald, will continue to busy himself in an assistant-type capacity, but tomorrow is a day for him to take a break and enjoy a celebratory role.

So what will win FitzGerald's race? Bustling Rio, a previous winner on this course and fit from all-weather racing, has a better chance than most. Trained at Middleham by Patrick Haslam, the seven-year-old will have the assistance of smart apprentice Lee Enstone.

Tomorrow's principal event is the £25,000 Freephone Stanley Spring Mile, which is confined to horses which fail to make the cut in Saturday's Lincoln Handicap.

Trappy event, though it is, my Nap vote is awarded to Sarraaf, trained by the shrewd Ian Semple, and a horse who will lack nothing in fitness, having been in good form on the sand this winter.

Barry Hills invariably does well at this opening meeting, and the Lambourn trainer can get on the scoreboard with Trust Rule in the John Gordon Chemists Spinal Injuries Maiden Stakes.

The three-year-old has run creditably in two outings on an artificial surface and looks open to further improvement on turf.

Hills can also secure the Mexborough Maiden Stakes, a race he won last year, with Weavers Pride, who demonstrated definite talent in his three starts last season. Michael Hills, the trainer's son, has the mount.

The Tile Depot Yorkshire Bluebell Wood Hospice Handicap over six furlongs looks wide-open, but Pedro Jack, a recent all-weather winner, has fitness on his side and should go well for Brian Meehan and Pat Dobbs.

Tomorrow's Doncaster action will be followed by a charity race, largely on behalf of The Spinal Injuries Association.

Although not run under Jockey Club Rules, and therefore not listed in the actual programme, it will feature a host of well-known riders, including former top jump-jockey Mark Dwyer, and former top northern Flat jockey Mark Birch.

Friday's tips:


1.45 Trust Rule, 2.20 Pedro Jack, 2.55 Sarraaf (Nap), 3.30 Traytonic, 4.05 Bustling Rio, 4.40 Weavers Pride.


2.00 Flying Fortune, 2.30 King Claudius, 3.05 Cape Stormer, 3.40 Duchamp, 4.15 Montys Tag, 4.50 Quiet Water.


2.10 Shannon's Pride, 2.40 Falchion, 3.15 Red Flyer, 3.50 The Quads, 4.25 Plutocrat, 5.00 Mountain Thyne.

Updated: 11:56 Thursday, March 20, 2003