Limerick Leader and Shanbally Rose
FINAL jumps meeting of the spring for Newcastle and we go there with three runners, starting with ROCKONSOPH (2.15) who makes her chase debut in a two-mile handicap. An impressive point winner back in November 2021 - beating a horse who has done well for Donald McCain since - the bigger obstacles won’t be new to her but there’s no doubt she’ll have to improve for the switch if she’s to win this week.
She was handed an opening mark of 100 over hurdles but wasn’t able to get one on the board, so has shed 9lbs over the course of last season. We have been campaigning her over two-and-a-half miles or a little bit further so far but have decided to drop back in trip here.
She’s from the family of three-time Champion Chase winner Badsworth Boy so hopefully something has rubbed off in the genes and the combination of chasing and a shorter trip will bring the best out of her.
LIMERICK LEADER (3.25) has been busy enough since last September, running seven times and while he’s had a few good efforts, most notably when just touched off at Ayr in March, he’s another who has been given a bit of relief from the handicapper. Now back down to the same mark as he was in Scotland, with good ground to bounce off and Dylan Johnston’s 7lbs claim he’s got plenty in his favour, albeit it looks a competitive race with a few others who have similarly been dropping down the weights.
Limerick Leader schooling
RAE DES CHAMPS (4.00) ran a cracker to be second at Kelso a few weeks ago so deserves to get her head in front again. She’s been racing between two and two-and-a-half miles so far but we’ve decided to take a step up in trip here to three. She stayed on well at Kelso after being a bit outpaced at the bottom of the hill, so that gives us encouragement the longer trip might suit, so it’s worth a try. Conor O’Farrell rides in Craig Nichol’s absence.
We were thrilled with St Cuthbert’s Cave winning last week. He’d shown us plenty of ability at home but you never know until you see them on the track and thankfully he backed up what we thought of him! Firth of Forth also ran really well to be second in the 2m6 handicap hurdle, which was very encouraging and he looked back to his old self. That will be him for the season now and we’ll look forward to probably going chasing in the autumn now.