RACING at Plumpton on Monday provided some good sport and racegoers saw a couple of horses that provided winning performances for their connections and the promise of much more to come in the second half of this season.
Double Handful won the concluding hurdle in impressive style and recorded his second win in two starts for his new trainer Lawney Hill.
Prior to joining the talented Oxfordshire-based trainer, Double Handful had been a disappointing sort.
But whatever magic Hill has employed, it has transformed the six-year-old and on the evidence of this win under a seven pound penalty the gelding will prove tough to beat in this grade wherever he runs next.
The trainer commented post race: “I had little doubt he would win today. The only concern was going left handed and during the race I thought that showed.
“He will be even better the other way around”
I felt a little bit sorry for the second-placed Wheres Johnny who has now run well on his last two starts here and bumped into an extremely well handicapped rival on both occasions.
Telscombe trainer Jamie Poulton will find a race before too long for the battle hardened grey.
The two-and-a-half mile handicap chase provided an equally if not more emphatic victory for Niceonefrankie.
His trainer Venetia Williams has been in tremendous form since the turn of the year and under a text book ride from Aidan Coleman he sauntered home without being extended in any way.
Throughout the contest the six year old gelding jumped and travelled well and was produced on the home bend before quickening right away from his field in the straight.
Although Niceonefrankie did not beat much in defying his seven pound penalty for a similarly impressive win at Hereford on his previous start, the accuracy of his jumping and his unexposed chasing profile suggests he should certainly be competitive in stronger contests than this and as long as the handicapper is not too severe on him his trainer should be able to place him to win again shortly.
The Lewes trainer Jim Best has always spoken well of Wayward Glance and although he has missed a couple of potential engagements in recent weeks, I hope to see him finally make his hurdling debut either on Friday at Chepstow or on Monday at Wetherby.
He was decent on the flat and after some recent entries at Grade One tracks it seems Jim and the team have elected to give him a less strenuous introduction to his new career.
Whatever happens, I get the impression from Jim he is a horse with a future over timber.
I have to mention the draconian penalties that have recently been handed out to several jockeys who have been in breach of the not so new whip regulations.
Seven jockeys were given a total of 93 days suspension and then after a fine ride by Will Kennedy to win the feature handicap of the weekend, he was banned for seven days and had his winning percentage taken away for hitting his mount ten times instead of the permitted eight.
Racing is destroying its public image by pandering to the irrational demands of individuals outside the sport who are not as informed about the equine world as they might have you believe.
I have no doubt that 99 percent of trainers and jockeys have only the best interests in mind for the horses in their care.
Their integrity is being challenged by the misguided actions of the authorities and, rather than try to sate individuals who cannot be satisfied, they should support and respect the views of those who are the heartbeat of the sport.