Strong start for the north but Newmarket Red end Racing League day one on top
The William Hill Racing League began with something of a home victory as Saluti landed the opening 5f handicap under Paul Mulrennan for Team Arena, although by the end of the night it was team Newmarket Red who topped the overall leaderboard.
The 15-2 shot earned the maximum 25 points for Team Arena, which takes its name from the owners of Newcastle racecourse and uses horses from four local trainers, including Paul Midgley who looks after Saluti.
Mulrennan is a big fan of the £1.8 million Racing League and said: "This is brilliant. At the end of the day a lot of money has been pumped into our sport and it can't be anything but good."
He added of the winner: "Paul seems to have found the key to him. He's really just turned the corner in the last few weeks and everything went nicely for him there."
Keeping the prize-money up north
The north triumphed again as Paddy Mathers brought the Richard Fahey-trained Strike Red from off the pace to land the 6f handicap for Team eToro Racing.
"Richard thought he had a great chance after he won last time out and Paddy gave him an absolutely fantastic ride," said team racing manager William Easterby. "He had balls of steel."
On the Beach
Newmarket got in on the act as the Hugo Palmer-trained Echo Beach took the 7f handicap under Laura Pearson for Goat Racing.
"I got stuck in a little bit of traffic but I got him switched round them," the jockey said.
"I think this series is a great new thing for the sport and I hope it will bring in new characters. Everything needs to be spiced up a little bit and that's what we're doing here."
Rupert Bell took off his headphones and raced down from the on-course talkSPORT studio to greet Bonneval, who took the mile handicap in the station's colours under Jack Mitchell to earn them a first victory in the competition.
He believes the Racing League could be a winner and said: "It's a long haul but it feels right – the racing is competitive and you can already feel a rivalry between the jockeys."
Mitchell, who had a full quota of rides with his teammates Hollie Doyle and Cieren Fallon riding elsewhere, said: “Hollie had other commitments and Cieren had a good book down at Epsom so we put our heads together and it made sense for me to take the rides.”
Balding and Turner off the mark
Team ThoroughBid trainer Andrew Balding and Hayley Turner triumphed in the finish of the night as 28-1 shot Roscioli reeled in Newmarket Red’s Jebel Dukhan in the final strides of the 1m2f handicap.
Turner said: “He relished the extra furlongs today. I thought Luke [Morris] had nabbed it on Jebel Dukhan but luckily my horse is quite tough. It’s nice to be on a good team of horses for Andrew and Richard [Hannon].”
Lotto strike late
Danny Muscutt's victory on Pearl Beach the 1m4½f handicap ensured six different teams earned victories in the Racing League's opening six contest as the William Knight-trained filly scored for Team Racehorse Lotto.
Racing League overall leaderboard
Despite not winning on the night, it is Newmarket Red – led by trainers John Gosden, Robert Cowell, Sir Mark Prescott, David Simcock – who top the leaderboard after the Racing League's first meeting. With points given to horses finishing placed first to tenth, Newmarket Red were rewarded for a consistent set of opening results.
1 Newmarket Red 85 points
2 Team talkSPORT 78
3 Team Racehorse Lotto 63
4 Team BullionVault 55
5 eToro Racing 53
6 Team Arena 49
7 Team ThoroughBid 47
8 Goat Racing 45
9 Team Swish 41
10 Team Ireland 38
11 Team ODDSbible 25
12 Remulate Racing 21
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