Horse racing: Walkon with hope in his heart for Newbury

Lee Sobot.
Lee Sobot.
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Some horses will have been inconvenienced by the delay to this year’s running of the totesport Trophy at Newbury (1.50pm), but Walkon is definitely not one of them.

Alan King’s striking grey was the second best juvenile around two seasons ago and beat all bar Zaynar in the Triumph.

Injury meant he was off the track for the best part of two years, but he showed when returning from his long absence at Ascot that the big engine is still well and truly intact.

Walkon was mugged close home by Tiger O’Toole after getting the better of a long tussle with the old scrapper Lough Derg over two miles and three furlongs.

Well-in at the weights to the tune of 6lb, his class can help him to pick up a big prize over timber before even bigger riches await when he goes over fences next season.

Chris Wall’s Midnight Rider has been handed a rating of 77 which is certainly high enough to win a race such as the Dormansland Maiden Stakes at Lingfield.

Fourth on his debut at Doncaster in June, he then went on to finish second on his next three starts at Lingfield (turf), Doncaster again and Thirsk.

Midnight Rider was beaten by just a nose by Brian Meehan’s Indigo Way in the middle of those three runs and that one subsequently went on to win the Zetland Stakes at Newmarket.

As long as the three-year-old colt is fit enough on his first start for 167 days, he must take all the beating.

Surely the handicapper has caught up with Aquilifer ahead of his run in the Play Rainbow Riches At Handicap, so a chance can be taken on Tijori.

Richard Hannon’s three-year-old broke his maiden last time out on only his fourth run so there should be more to come.

Ian Williams seems to have the quirky Syrian in top form and he is taken to land the hat-trick in the Name A Race To Enhance Your Brand Claiming Stakes at Wolverhampton.

While his wins have been in selling and claiming company, he is clearly in a happy place at the moment.

Bryan Smart’s Unwrapit improved to finish second last time out and if she continues to get better with experience, the Hotel & Conferencing At Wolverhampton Maiden Fillies’ Stakes is within her compass.

Gary Moore’s Megastar will have to win the Finmeccanica UK Battlespace Solutions Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown if he is to book his place at Cheltenham.

Fifth behind Cue Card in the Champion Bumper last March, he has had the misfortune to run into some classy individuals over timber, but his second in the Tolworth reads very well indeed.

Paul Nicholls’ Promising Anshan looks the likely winner of Fakenham’s Andy Don Memorial Beginners´ Chase.

● Trainer Alan Bailey hopes the rain stays away ahead of the William Hill Lincoln, for which his big hope, Lowther, is to carry 9st 2lb.

Weights for the historic one-mile handicap at Doncaster on April 2 were revealed yesterday, with last year’s winner, Penitent, heading a list of 118 horses.

The William Haggas-trained five-year-old is due to shoulder 9st 11lb.

Initially allotted 8st 11lb, Lowther incurred a 5lb penalty for holding off fellow Lincoln hope Norman Orpen (8st 3lb) when winning at Wolverhampton on Monday.

The six-year-old gelding has been in fine form on the Polytrack this winter having, unusually, started his career as a four-year-old in a two-mile Ludlow bumper.

Bailey said: “Lowther will definitely go to Doncaster for the Lincoln if the ground is good or good to firm – soft ground would be against him.

“He gets a 5lb penalty for Monday’s win, so that will put him on 9st 2lb.

“He’s been going nicely on the all-weather this winter and I’m very pleased with everything.”

Jonjo O'Neill

Red’s Definitly not in the National