Normally well attended by racegoers the feature race is the coveted Clarendon Trophy, a mile and a half handicap with a first prize of £1,950, sponsored by Charles Le Quesne.The meeting also produces the result of the trainers’ and jockeys’ championships for the year.
The former title already appears to be comfortably won by Joan Le Brocq, who has a five-win lead over her three main rivals.One of them would need to go through the card on Monday to equal her 12 winners to date.In the jockeys’ race Ross Studholme has a lead of three over Tony Procter and it is unlikely, although not impossible, that the present position will change.The Clarendon has nine runners declared with Minnie’s Mystery conceding upwards of a stone to her rivals.
This reliable mare won the Jersey Derby on 27 July at level weights, but was beaten in a handicap last time.
Despite her consistency, the task set for her on this occasion may be just a little too much.The probable favourite will be Johnny Mercier and Jane Edgar’s Palala River, a winner of four races this year.
This stalwart of Alyson Malzard’s yard has been raised 6 lb in the handicap and is now 11 lb worse off than Minnie’s Mystery and 7 lb worse off than Off Minor.
This suggests that the seven lengths by which she beat Minnie’s Mystery will be reduced, but more importantly the 7 lb swing with Off Minor for a two length margin could provide last year’s Derby winner with a Clarendon to add to his victories.Last year’s winner, Carouse, would appear to have little chance on present form.
Similarly Compassionate and Northreel appear outsiders although Time to Wyn could spring a surprise, placing if he stays the distance and produces something of last season’s form.That leaves Countrywide Pride and Bold Enough.
The latter, who has run exceptionally well this year, dead-heated with Palala River over this distance on 13 July and a place is not out of her range.
The real outsider is David Evans’ Countrywide Pride, though, and – providing he does not carry overweight – he may be the one the principals have to fear.An exciting race is in prospect with Palala River attempting a fifth win in a row, with Off Minor still seeking his first win of the year and Countrywide Pride seeking any chinks in his rivals’ armour.There are four runners in the opener, The BetFair.Com Hurdle.
Joan Le Brocq has two runners, Out on a Promise and Darmont.
The former won the Jersey Champion Hurdle in mid-July with Darmont five lengths away in fourth place.
On this occasion 12-year-old Darmont receives 12 lb, which might be enough to reverse the placings.
Phil A’Court’s Casa Rosa has not reproduced last season’s form but with the weight concession will still be close.
Neville Ahier’s Regal Ali won a modest novice hurdle on 27 July but that form will not be good enough to win here, unless there is further improvement.Eight runners go to post for the Pomander Sprint over five and a half furlongs, sponsored by David Moon.
Favourite will probably be Sky of Hope who has won three races this year and is now conceding upwards of 12 lb to his rivals.
Another win would be some achievement.Des Ahier’s Catcando possesses plenty of ability and won two seven furlong races early season.
Second to Sky of Hope last time and now 3 lb better off, the positions could be reversed.
UK trainer and Grand National winning rider Brendan Powell brings two to the meeting.
Regular runner here, The Gay Fox, ran at Newmarket last week and finished a very respectable third; that form may be sufficient to win this contest.Of the bottom weights Arry Martin has every chance.
A winner on two occasions over this distance this year, the large weight concessions place her in a very favourable position.
Finally, the lightly-raced Highland Flight and Unveil are not to be overlooked.BetFair.Com also sponsor a handicap over an extended mile, which has the largest field, of ten runners.
The race should develop between four principal contenders, Chateau Nicolle from the UK, Stephen Arthur’s two runners, Van Gurp and Vrubel, and Peter and Judy Bailey’s much improved Hush Money.
Vrubel needs to show improved form to win; a place is possible.
If Van Gurp races with enthusiasm he will be difficult to beat and if Hush Money puts her best foot forward another win is possible.
It is probable, though, that Chateau Nicolle will have the edge on the field.Generous sponsors Betfair.Com sponsor the one and three quarter mile handicap, the last race of the 2003 season.
Only four runners are involved and the clear favourite will be the Colin McCready-trained Snow Lark, who showed much improved form last time to win off a low handicap mark.
Only penalised 4 lb for this victory she should have no problem in following this up with another win.
Snow Lark could be the champion racehorse of future years.