Kieran O'Neill out to rule the roost at Southwell
Can O'Neill keep on the crest of a wave at Southwell?
Kieran O'Neill has hit the board at the last two meetings at Southwell, most recently when riding a double at the East Midlands track on Tuesday, and he has rides in four of the six races kicking off with Samovar in the Betway Sprint Novice Stakes (1.35).
The 30-year-old has partnered Scott Dixon's three-year-old on all four of his career starts, most recently when sixth of seven behind the course specialist Hammer Gun in a 6f handicap at the track this month.
Despite that reversal, O'Neill is confident that Samovar will be a different proposition on his first attempt at five furlongs. He said: "I think I went off a bit too quick on Samovar last time over six and this five furlongs should be better for him as he has plenty of boot. He's better than his mark of 67 would suggest and I think he's my best ride of the four."
Later on, the former Richard Hannon apprentice partners the more exposed Crosse Fire in the Betway Handicap (2.10) also over the minimum trip.
The six-year-old faces six opponents including the in-form pair Pearl Acclaim and Something Lucky. O'Neill said: "He ran well to be fourth there the other day and he would have a solid chance."
Fahey is flat out with his jumpers
Richard Fahey is running all of his jumps team this week which consists of just two horses including Judge Earle in the opening Amateur Jockeys Association Amateur Riders' Handicap Hurdle (12.45) at Kelso.
The 2m2f contest is a qualifier for the Northern Lights Two Mile Hurdle Series final but the heavy ground means just five go to post from an original entry of 17.
On form, Judge Earle hasn't been pulling up any trees on the northern circuit of late but there were many branches down at Fahey's Malton base on Wednesday after Storm Georgina did her worst in North Yorkshire.
Fahey said: "It wasn't very nice out there this morning to say the least and I think we had a touch of Storm Georgina alright. We still managed to get the horses out and are flat out with our jumping team this week including Judge Earle who we want to qualify for the final of the Series."
Judge Earle's form has taken a downward turn since he finished runner-up on his debut over hurdles at Wetherby in October. Fahey said: "It looks the right race for him as it has cut up but he really could have done with better ground than heavy which they say it is up there."
King of Warwick
Fields Of Fortune could well make amends for his late departure on his hurdling bow at Warwick in November when he returns to the same venue for the opening Premier Thoroughbred Racing Juvenile Hurdle (12.55).
A decent type on the Flat, Alan King's hope was in fourth when capsizing at the last that day but that was no disgrace as the contest was won by subsequent Grade 1 winner We Have A Dream.
King said: "I’m looking forward to bringing Fields Of Fortune back. He was running a good race when he unseated his rider at the last on his hurdling debut at Warwick and that form has worked out really well. He pulled some muscles and took a week or two to come sound, but he’s ready to go again now and he has Flat form on soft ground."
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