down cross

Donovan makes another trip pay as Menelik wins again

Des Donovan: Irish trainer making hay at Lingfield
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Menelik made it three wins from seven starts this year when bolting up by three lengths in a 5f handicap run at a furious pace.

A strike-rate that good would do any trainer proud, but what distinguishes Menelik is that he has travelled over from County Tipperary every time.

Des Donovan, who relocated from Newmarket around ten months ago and has reinvented the former ten-furlong winner as a sprinter, said: "We came over on the boat from Dublin to Holyhead overnight, and we sail again at two in the morning.

"We do it every time and Menelik seems to love it. We might be coming back again next week now!"

He added: "I've run five over here this winter, and four of them have won, but I don't know where Menelik has found that speed from. He's just very well."

Gallagher off the mark in style

John Gallagher enjoyed a first win of the year when paddock stand-out Gala Celebration was an unchallenged four-length winner of the three-year-old 7f handicap.

Gallagher, who is ready for a quick start on turf in the Brocklesby with Cruel Clever Cat so long as it's not too soft, said: "I've had only a handful of runners and I thought Gala Celebration looked fantastic today.

"I'd been riding him myself the last two weeks and he'd been going well, and he'll have thought he was loose today. He was always bred to be a nice horse and gelding him has done him the world of good."

Jockey Martin Dwyer added: "He's growing up and he'll get better through the season. He's designed for a turning track. You wouldn't want to run him on a straight course. He'd always do too much on a straight track." 

Salaman follows suit

Matt Salaman also enjoyed a first success of the year with an unchallenged winner, Locommotion bolting up at 20-1 in the 7f handicap, in which he led after a furlong despite a slow start and was never challenged.

The grey came home three and a half lengths clear and could make a quick reappearance in the last race at Chelmsford on Thursday, although Salaman offers a word of warning about his temperament.

He said: "He needs an easy lead and likes to dominate. If he gets challenged he's a bit soft and can give in easily. Also, he doesn't like the whip.

"We'll see how he comes out in the morning but he's not had a hard race here as Franny [Norton] said it was almost like a gallop for him."

Friends reunited

Ryan Moore's trip to Lingfield for just one ride paid off when Bishops Cannings landed odds of 1-4 in the 1m4f maiden.

The filly is owned in partnership with David Elsworth by Julian Nettlefold, who revealed: "Bishops Cannings is named after David's first base, where I met him as an 18-year-old."

He added: "He taught me to ride a racehorse and I went on to ride out for Fred Winter and Barry Hills, including riding Barry's Derby second Hawaiian Sound at home, but I haven't had racehorses of my own until recently. We also have a yearling together by Norse Dancer."


Something for the weekend

Ben Robinson, who made it two wins from two rides on Living Leader in the mile handicap, has bigger fish to fry at the weekend. He rides Top Notch Tonto in the Betway Lincoln and said: "I rode him in the trial at Wolverhampton and he didn't really handle the track. He's much better on turf and loves soft ground. He's very well."

Schools out

Pupils from Platanos College, Stockwell, enjoyed a day at the races under the Active Communities Network scheme. The 13 and 14-year-olds had a full tour of Lingfield, with the kitchens included alongside the stables and weighing room as part of a wider careers day. 

Thought for the day
What's the logic behind having three all-weather meetings on the same day when there are none on Sunday or Monday?

Results and analysis

We came over on the boat from Dublin to Holyhead overnight, and we sail again at two in the morning. We do it every time

Key data

Menelik Des Donovan
E.W. Terms
Sky bet