Prolific Spare Parts embarks on audacious AW double bid
The Glastonbury music festival may be having a fallow year in 2018 but its namesake in Newmarket is busier than ever at Phil McEntee's Racefield Stables, where it is a key component of his winter training regime.
He said: "Our paddock is so muddy that it's affectionately known as Glastonbury by the many of the locals and it's where we turn out most of our all-weather horses at 6.30 every morning."
Among those queuing on Tuesday to explore one of the bigger puddles – nicknamed 'the splash pool' – was the prolific Spare Parts, who is on a mission to win two races a little more than 24 hours, kicking off in the first division of the apprentice handicap (3.20) at Lingfield.
The former Charlie Hills trainee is out to win his fourth race in a row for his new connections, a spree that began at Wolverhampton on January 3 and continued at Kempton and Chelmsford last week.
Because of his double penalty, Spare Parts has the welter burden of 10st 11lb , but McEntee is hopeful he can defy the weight, even if preferred rider Nicola Currie can't take the ride.
He added: "Nicola has ridden too many winners to ride in the race, so we have booked Cameron Noble.
"Yes, he's got plenty of weight, but if you take the runner-up, Mercury, out of the race at Chelmsford last week he'd have won by seven lengths. He's still in a 0-55 and if all goes well he'll then head to Chelmsford on Thursday where Nicola can claim off him."
Empire bids to strike back
Peter Chapple-Hyam has his first runners of 2018 at Newcastle, although he does not plan to make the trip.
The pick looks to be New Empire in the 32Red.com Handicap (5.00). The son of Kodiac was a little disappointing last year, including on his sole outing on the all-weather when last of five at Wolverhampton in November.
The two-time Derby-winning trainer is hopeful the fitting of first-time blinkers may make the difference in the 7f contest, in which he tackles just three rivals.
Chapple-Hyam said: "New Empire would be a good thing if he returns to the form of his second at Goodwood last summer and we're hoping the headgear does the trick. He's been working nicely on the Al Bahathri Polytrack and should be fine on Tapeta."
Select Selecta says Spencer
Bo Selecta gave Richard Spencer his first winner of the year at Lingfield last week and the Newmarket trainer is hopeful he can follow up under a 6lb penalty in the second division of the apprentice handicap (3.55) on the same course.
The switch to Polytrack worked the oracle for the topweight over this trip that day when he made all to comfortably account for Violet's Lad on his 11th start.
The son of Dream Ahead could still be well treated and is ridden for the first time by Rhiain Ingram, who has been riding out for Spencer in recent weeks.
The trainer said: "We'd previously run Bo Selecta at Southwell, which was a big mistake as he seems to like it at Lingfield. He's drawn next to a front-runner so should get a good tow into the race. Rhiain seems to ride well and we fancy him to handle a 6lb penalty."
Snow joke if Promise is denied a run
Newcastle-based Susan Corbett is hoping the forecast snow does not hamper her plans to send her promising bumper horse Harrisons Promise for the inaugural Listed 188bet Alan Swinbank Mares' National Hunt Flat Race (2.40) at Market Rasen.
The six-year-old was an impressive winner when last seen at Wetherby in November and connections have waited for this to have a crack at some black type.
She said: "It's just started snowing here so we hope we can get there but if she does, Harrisons Promise would go there with a decent chance.
"As we run a stud as well as training yard, the ideal is always to get some black type into our mares. What's notable is that her owners have just bought her four-year-old half-sister, so they like the family all right."
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