Spring Loaded bids to make up for unlucky Cup effort in Great St Wilfrid
William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap | 6f | ITV4/ ATR
Spring Loaded bids to take Ripon's most valuable prize out of Yorkshire for the first time since Markab scored for Henry Candy in 2009.
Paul D'Arcy's topweight, a proper Saturday horse, is among a number of runners who contested last month's Stewards' Cup at Goodwood, where he could never land a blow when seventh behind Gifted Master.
Before that, the seven-year-old had run out the cosy winner of a 5f handicap at Ascot from Poyle Vinnie.
William Carson, whose only previous ride on Spring Loaded produced a win at Wolverhampton in 2015, is recalled to partner the grey, who will appreciate any ease in the ground for the £75,000 contest.
D' Arcy said: "Things didn't really go to plan at Goodwood. He was the fastest finisher in the race and probably should have won.
"He's built to carry big weights and the ground should be fine for him. We're not worried about his draw in three and we expect a big run."
Fahey goes four glory
Not surprisingly for a northern sprint handicap, Richard Fahey has a good record in this event, having won it with Baccarat in 2013 and saddling a one-two two years later when Don't Touch headed Kimberella, who is back for more.
It will be a fourth appearance in the contest for Kimberella, who returned to form at Chester last time and is a first big-race mount for Fahey's apprentice Oakley Brown.
Kimberella heads a team of four from Musley Bank, which also includes Growl, Brian The Snail and Marie Of Lyon.
Fahey said: "I’m pretty sure Kimberella holds the track record at Ripon so the course won’t be an issue at all and he’s obviously a good, hardy performer.
"We’re taking off 7lb and Oakley Brown is a good kid – the horse will give his all."
Growl has been knocking at the door of late, most recently when a fast-finishing third at Goodwood.
Fahey said: "He's really well handicapped on his best form and ran well again when third in the Stewards’ Cup.
"He's definitely better on softer ground though, so that would be in the back of my mind if it keeps drying out. Growl is drawn low under Paul [Hanagan] so we might end up heading down the far side, but we’ll wait and see."
On his other two entries, he added: "Brian The Snail is a star – we all love him to bits. Time will tell if stall 17 is a positive, but being high hasn’t been a bad thing in previous editions.
"You can put a line through Marie Of Lyon's Goodwood run as the saddle slipped. She’s capable of winning from her current mark."
Could stall one silence Pipers?
A middle-to-high draw has been the path to riches in this event in recent years so Pipers Note will have plenty to do from stall one in his bid to go one better than 12 months ago.
Ruth Carr's stable stalwart, who is on a hat-trick of course-and-distance wins at the track, is making his fourth appearance in the race, having also previously finished fifth (2014) and fourth (2015).
Carr said: "He's on a roll at the moment but his draw may not be the best right out there. He always does his best and retains plenty of ability so we hope he can overcome it."
Easterby bids to retain the prize
Tim Easterby won this a year ago with the now retired Mattmu and is back for more with in-form pair Flying Pursuit and Golden Apollo, who finished first and second in a 6f handicap at York last time.
The pair are up 6lb and 5lb respectively for that and will have to raise their game up in class.
Easterby said: "The handicapper put them both up so obviously feels they are ready to run at this level. Both go there in great shape and will enjoy any juice there is in the ground."
What the others say
Eve Johnson Houghton, trainer of Ice Age
As he's rated 106 there isn't anywhere else to run him so we're taking our chance and he's capable of running a very big race on his day. He's drawn in the middle in ten, which has been a plus in recent years.
John Quinn, trainer of Reputation
He ran a good race at Goodwood last time considering he was drawn the wrong side. I don't know about his draw [five] but hopefully he has some luck in running.
Michael Dods, trainer of Dakota Gold
He really needs cut in the ground so I hope it doesn't dry out too much. I think he's drawn on the right side but it looks a hell of a hot race this year.
Clive Cox, trainer of Dark Power
We've booked Yuga Kawada primarily because he is one of the few jockeys who can do the weight. We've struggled to get him out because of the firm ground this year so I hope it doesn't dry out too much.
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