Former jumps jockey Graham Lee has just the one ride at Beverley
PICTURE: John Grossick
By David Ashforth 17:50pM 9 AUG 2016
MORE small field problems with 13 of Wednesday’s 28 Flat races (46 per cent) attracting less than eight runners. I can’t help thinking that, in the end, if it’s considered important enough, a solution will mean staging many fewer races. At Bath, traditionally afflicted with firm going when the sun comes out (does it have a watering system nowadays? I don’t suppose it can, up there on the hill), five of the seven races fall short of the magic number. Even so, the racing is not short of interest (I’m easily pleased).
The opening six runner 0-60 sprint handicap inevitably includes Catalinas Diamond, who must be getting appearance money because this is the eight-year-old’s seventh run at Bath this season. His last three wins have been at Bath although sadly not this year.
Trainer Pat Murphy runs a small stable nowadays but you will, of course, remember that great day in 2001 when he won the Welsh National with Supreme Glory.
Mitch Godwin, an apprentice attracting favourable reviews, attempts to follow up his recent success on Virile and there’s Rebecca Bastiman, all the way from North Yorkshire with See Vermont. It should be a doddle for him because last time he ran at Bath, over a year ago, he ran loose beforehand but still won.
Good heavens, Matthew Salaman’s got two runners in the race. Salaman is best known as the son of Marshalla ‘Taffy’ Salaman who in turn is best known for having trained Churchtown Boy to win the 1977 Topham Trophy and, two days later, finish runner-up to Red Rum in the National.
Salaman junior’s training career has been a chequered, interrupted one and his last winner was Tallulah Mai over four years ago. It’s about time he had another.
Oh, look. Ruth Carr’s got a runner in the 6.20, Dyllan (they might have spelt it correctly), also all the way from North Yorkshire. I give the heavily used mute button a break when Carr’s being interviewed because she’s open and straightforward and has built a solid, consistent record. It would be nice to see her with some better class horses.
And it would be nice to see Graham Lee with fuller and better books of rides. At the moment his talents are being underused. Having ridden over 100 winners in each of the four years since switching from a successful career as a Grand National winning jump jockey, including wins in the Ascot Gold Cup and Stewards’ Cup, this year has been difficult.
At Beverley, Sunraider (3.00) is Lee’s only ride on an eight race card. It shouldn’t be and I hope the rest of the season is more fruitful.
Paul Midgley bought Sunraider for just 3,500 guineas in 2011 and has won five times with him. On paper, favoured by the weights, Sunraider is the likely winner but all the nine year-old’s seven wins have been over six furlongs, he has never shown his best form at seven and today’s stiff 7.5 furlongs is the furthest he has attempted. The proverbial fingers crossed.