Wetherby preview: First Sargeant can collect under O’Donnell
Apprentice jockey Patrick O’Donnell has an unbelievable strike rate and can further enhance it with victory on First Sargeant in the 1m 2f handicap that opens proceedings on this evening’s card at Wetherby (18.00).
O’Donnell has ridden 14 winners from 61 rides, a success rate of just under 23%, and backing each of his rides to a £1 level stake would have produced an incredible profit of just over £171.
He is also in red-hot form having won on four of his last five rides, and is a young man going places who is terrific value for his claim.
In First Sargeant he has a partner who disappointed last time out but looks a handy mark if bouncing back after being given a break.
The Lawrence Mullaney trained gelding rounding off last season with a win at Windsor off a rating of 53, and ran very well reappearance at Doncaster back in March when chasing home Sherriff Of Nawton in a competitive 15-runner class 5 contest off 59.
Although no match for the easy six length winner, the five year-old led approaching the final furlong until lack of fitness took its toll.
It was an effort which suggested First Sargeant would be up to winning races off his current mark, and O’Donnell’s assistance in this apprentice contest is a major plus.
In the extended 5f handicap (19.35), Ben Hall is a fascinating contender having dropped to a potentially very lenient mark.
The gelding had some useful form to his name as a juvenile when trained by John Gosden, finishing seventh of 24 to Extortionist in the listed Windsor Castle over at Royal Ascot and a solid 3 1/4 length sixth in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.
Ben Hall went on to land a 6f conditions’ contest at Lingfield on his first start last year off an official rating of 97, but his form then tailed off badly.
Now in the care of Ruth Carr, Ben Hall is able to race in this off a career-low mark of just 65 after hinting at a return to form three weeks ago when fourth to Another Royal in a class 5 contest at Pontefract.
The four-year-old quickly found himself at the rear of the field but then stayed on under tender handling to be beaten 7 1/2 lengths.
It was a big step back in the right direction, and if building on it Ben Hall has major claims of landing the spoils in this lower grade class 6 contest.
18.00: First Sargeant (NAP)
19.05: Without Doubt
19.45: Ben Hall (NB)
20.05: Orion’s Bow
21.10: Angels Above