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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Punting pointers and trainers' views on the Great St Wilfrid

Growl (nearside) is favourite to give Richard Fahey a third win in the sprint
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3.15 Ripon
William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap | 6f | ITV4/ATR


Fahey ace on the prowl

This race is named after the patron saint of Ripon and many punters will be praying Richard Fahey can register a record-equalling third win with the well-backed Growl.

The topweight is taking in his third successive premier sprint of the summer following the July Cup at Newmarket (in which he finished an honourable sixth) and Goodwood's Stewards' Cup, in which he was drawn on the wrong side but still managed fourth.

Growl is the class horse in the race and heads a four-strong team for Fahey, who has won Ripon's annual highlight with Baccarat (2013) and Don't Touch (2015). Among Fahey's other runners are Eastern Impact, who finished 11th at Goodwood but has never run at Ripon before.

Out to do rare double

Previous winners Out Do (2014) and Nameitwhatyoulike (2016) are back for more, but only one horse has won this twice – Pepper Lane in 2011 and 2012.

Rested Robero returns

Robero may have been found out by a busy schedule when attempting to defy a penalty in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket last time, just four days after winning over this trip at Pontefract. The five-year-old is trained by Mick Easterby, who has won this race twice before.

What they say

Richard Fahey, trainer of Growl, Eastern Impact, Right Touch and George Bowen
Growl ran a good race to be fourth in the Stewards' Cup and I feel if he's drawn right here then he's good enough to win. He's drawn down the stands' side – I’d be disappointed if he didn't win the race on his side at least. Eastern Impact also ran in the Stewards' Cup and had no real excuses, although the ground would have been soft enough for him. He’s very useful on his day and capable of running well. George Bowen is in and out, while Right Touch is a couple of pounds higher than I'd like, but he does like Ripon and often runs his best races there.

David O'Meara, trainer of Out Do and Al Qahwa
Out Do won it a couple of years ago and likes the track, but the faster the ground the better for him, and if it rains he won't run. Al Qahwa wants the ground the other way and any showers would enhance his chances.

Charlie Hills, trainer of Shanghai Glory
He was a tad unlucky in the Stewards' Cup. I've been pleased with him since and this looks the right sort of race for him.

Ruth Carr, trainer of Pipers Note
He was fourth in the race last year, so we know he likes the track, and the ground was a bit soft for him at Ascot last time. If it continues to dry out he'd have a decent shout.

Brian Smart, trainer of Nameitwhatyoulike
He won the race last year and had a nice pipe-opener this morning, so we're hopeful he'll go well again. We're claiming 5lb off his back, which will help.

Mick Easterby, trainer of Robero and Hoofalong
Robero ran well under a penalty over seven furlongs at Newmarket last time, but we're looking forward to going back in trip and he has a big chance. Hoofalong should run well if he gets out of the gate on level terms, which has been a problem in the past.

Evanna McCutcheon, trainer of Maarek
Hopefully they'll get more showers as a bit of ease suits him. We're giving Killian Hennessy a chance. He's a good 5lb claimer and knows the horse well having ridden him in plenty of work. It's a long time since Maarek won, but he's dropped in the ratings and is in good form.

Marjorie Fife, trainer of Classic Seniority
He's won at the track and never disappoints, but ideally we'd have preferred the consolation race as this looks tough.

Ann Duffield, trainer of George Dryden
It's a bit of a cavalry charge but he finished fifth in it last year and should like the ground if it dries out, as it is doing.

Robero ran well under a penalty over seven furlongs at Newmarket last time, but we are looking forward to going back in trip and he has a big chance
E.W. Terms
Sky bet