O'Keeffe hoping Air Raid can justify long trip and wing into Britannia picture
North Yorkshire trainer Jedd O'Keeffe is hoping to reap the rewards of an eight-hour round trip from Leyburn to Chelmsford and tee up a tilt at the Britannia Handicap with Air Raid (7.10).
The promising son of Raven's Pass, two from three in novice stakes company, will be O'Keeffe's second runner at the track in the £30,000 mile handicap at a meeting for which prize-money totals £137,545.
The suitability of the race for the unexposed three-year-old attracted O'Keeffe into making the long journey as Air Raid tackles handicap company and steps up to a mile for the first time.
O'Keeffe said: "He's a really nice horse and we liked him a lot before he had even run. We were thrilled with his comeback win and we intended to run him at Goodwood last week, but the ground went against us.
"This race suited us as an ideal replacement. It's a nice prize and hopefully might make the journey more than worthwhile.
"If he stays the extra furlong, which I think he will, it will open up more options and we may enter him in the Britannia."
Course specialists go for gold
Mick Easterby's team are more familiar with the journey from North Yorkshire to Essex and he saddles two course specialists in Bosham (6.40) and Qaffaal (8.40).
Front-runner Bosham has won five of his 12 starts at the course, while Qaffaal, also to be ridden by apprentice Harrison Shaw, has finished out of the first three only once in nine starts at the track, notching three wins.
David Easterby, assistant to the Sheriff Hutton trainer, said: "They're in good heart and we're hoping Bosham can attack from the front from a good draw and Qaffaal can come with his usual late run.
"When you have an improving horse you tend to go where the top prize-money is, so that's indicative of why they have such good records at the track and a compliment to the prize-money at Chelmsford."
Hat-trick bid for improving Hateya
Jim Boyle's Hateya bids for an all-weather hat-trick in May in the £30,000 mile fillies' handicap (7.40).
The daughter of Footstepsinthesand has twice won with plenty in hand at Lingfield, although the handicapper has not missed her as she seeks to defy an 18lb higher mark than for her first success at the start of the month.
Boyle said: "She deserves to take her chance in this company as she's improving nicely, but she'll need to take another step forward.
"It's a competitive race, but I'm pleased with her. She's a big, scopey filly and what she did last year was just a bonus.
"I thought she was capable of reaching this grade but the speed of her progress this season has surprised us a little – it's just a question of how far she can go."
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