Ozzy can turn bark into bite now stepped back up in trip
3.25 Market Rasen
32Red Casino Handicap Hurdle | 2m4½f | 4yo+ | RUK
Advice from the champion jockey has been heeded as Ozzy Thomas faces his most significant test of stamina for nearly two years in a contest trainer Henry Oliver is trying to capture for the second year running.
Richard Johnson came second on his first ride on the seven-year-old at Leicester last month but thinks he might be able to go one better over an extra four furlongs today.
The form of Awesome Rosie’s close second at Doncaster has been franked by the winner, Graceful Legend, so a 3lb rise could be kind, but not as generous as the decision to leave top weight Eminent Poet on the same mark as when successful at Plumpton eight days ago.
Time to strike?
Mwaleshi is 28lb lower than his last winning mark two years ago but is the veteran of the race aged 12.
Five winners from his last ten runners has been the haul for Fergal O’Brien, who needs one more to make it 50 for the season and saddles stable debutant Monyjean.
What they say
Venetia Williams, trainer of Eminent Poet
After winning a conditional jockeys’ race like he did last Monday, if the horse is in good order then it’s sensible to run them again off the same mark. But opportunities were very limited this week. If you obliterate his last run from memory, would you be fancying him for this race? I think he might struggle to win because it’s only two and a half miles, the ground won’t be as soft as at Plumpton and it’s a more competitive race.
Henry Oliver, trainer of Ozzy Thomas
Richard Johnson rode him last time and recommended we stepped him up in trip. He ran well over the trip the last time he tried it, at Cheltenham in April the year before last, and he seems a stronger horse now. He’s still lightly raced.
Alan King, trainer of Awesome Rosie
She ran very well at Doncaster last time and just got run out of it by the winner, who has come out and won again. The trip should suit and she should run well.
Fergal O’Brien, trainer of Monyjean
It’s his first run for me. I’ve had him about three months. He was a decent horse in France but lost his way over fences. He was sent to me to give him a change and we’re starting back over hurdles to see how he goes. He seems very straightforward.
Sue Smith, trainer of Mwaleshi
He runs around Market Rasen because right-handed is his best way and the old lad ran a corker there last time to finish second. On the evidence of that run I think he'll pick up a race and hopefully it will be this one.
Sarah-Jayne Davies, trainer of Sensible Simpson
He’s a home-bred who showed plenty of promise for us last season. It’s the start of the season and not his peak but he’s a progressive horse and we think he’s well-handicapped. Hopefully it won’t go too soft for him.