Mark Johnston is poised to break Richard Hannon Senior’s record for training the most winners in Britain and the Middleham maestro comes to Redcar’s Caribbean Carnival meeting on Saturday with three runners.
Johnston is just a handful short of Hannon’s tally of 4,193 and he has no shortage of runners all over the country, so the record could fall any day now in what will be a phenomenal achievement.
Tight Lines is a filly with the typical toughness of a Johnston runner and won at Hamilton at the start of July. She has the right attitude, and Dane O'Neill is an interesting booking, but it’s a tough ask to beat Roger Varian’s Faadhel in the DFDS World's Best Ferry Operator Handicap. Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum’s colt has leading claims after improving to win his last two races. He looks a progressive type well capable of handling a 4lbs rise in the weights.
Johnston ran Masham Star twice in a week at Glorious Goodwood, with the gelding finishing fourth and 16th respectively. It’s interesting that he turns out again quickly for the Racing UK Handicap, with Oliver Stammers taking seven pounds off the gelding’s hefty top-weight. It would be no surprise to see him run well at a decent price, but preference is for David O’Meara’s Hajjam, who won at this meeting last year. He ran well to be seventh in a hot race at Ascot last time and has the in-form David Nolan in the saddle.
Johnston’s third runner is Prestbury Park in the Market Cross Jewellers Handicap but preference is for Hugo Palmer’s Ghayadh. He was well beaten when a hot favourite at Leicester last time but had won well at Carlisle the time before and is fancied to bounce back.
The opening Racing UK HD On Sky 426 Selling Stakes is a tricky affair and it's hard to have confidence in any of the runners. However, Iain Jardine's Capitan James ran better in cheek-pieces on his handicap debut at Musselburgh last time, shaping as if he would appreciate the extra furlong and he is now dropped in grade.
Some of the big southern trainers stake a claim for the Celebrate The Life Of Ann Allport Median Auction Maiden Stakes and David Simcock's Forward Thinker looked a winner in waiting when just failing under a strong finish at Lingfield last time out. William Haggas sends Jurran from Newmarket and he should be better for the experience of a very green first run last month.
There was a lot to like about The Armed Man’s win for Chris Fairhurst and claimer Paula Muir at the last Redcar meeting and he’ll have his supporters in the Watch More With Racing UK Extra Handicap. However, Nigel Tinkler is in resurgent form and Normandy Barriere’s last two runs have been at Ascot. He can defy top-weight after his second in an amateur lady riders race last time.
Malton trainer Lawrence Mullraney has his horses running well and Urban Spirit was staying on well to be second of 13 over two miles at Wetherby last time. The Gin & Gents' Evening 25th August Handicap (Division One) is over three furlongs less and a bold show is expected.
Tim Easterby is no stranger to the winner’s enclosure at Redcar and The Knot Is Tied looks a good bet to round off the eight-race card in division two. He was being eased at the finish when winning over a furlong further at Catterick last time and can string a couple of wins together.