Burke makes bright start to season

Darlington and Stockton Times: OVERSEAS WINNER: Boston Bob ridden by Ruby Walsh wins The Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup OVERSEAS WINNER: Boston Bob ridden by Ruby Walsh wins The Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup

KARL BURKE has made a bright start to the season, and that was highlighted last Saturday in no uncertain terms when he saddled a fantastic five-timer on the day.

Of the five winners, which came at three different tracks, Yourartisonfire was the most impressive winner, coming home in front at Haydock and the trainer has lofty plans, saying: “We tried the visors once last year. He is not ungenuine but he is lazy and they sharpen him up. We will aim high now and he might go to Royal Ascot.”

Yourartisonfire was well ridden by Joey Haynes, Burke’s apprentice and he looks poised for a very big season and is a rider to keep a close eye on.

Back at Haydock, one of Burke’s neighbours James Bethell was also on the score sheet, and it was a bit of a surprise if the betting is to be believed as Belle De Lawers made a winning debut to her career at 50-1 under Joe Fanning.

Nigel Hamilton, representing the winning trainer, said: “We thought Belle de Lawers was a nice filly. You never know until they run, but she did it well and Joe Fanning thought she was a decent filly.”

Bethell has nice couple of horses on his hands as Penhill also made a big impression when taking the ten furlong handicap at Nottingham on Wednesday.

A lightly raced son of Mount Nelson, Penhill appeals as the type to continue to improve and can win again.

Pontefract raced on Wednesday and Micky Hammond, who has a great strikerate at the West Yorkshire venue, was on the mark with Correggio who was given a strong ride by PJ McDonald.

Afterwards Hammond was on hand, saying: “He’s a more mature horse this year. We always thought he’d make a better four-year-old and I’d like to think he can win again.

I don’t think it would matter whether he runs over 1m or 1m2f.”

Hammond former assistant Jedd O’Keeffe was also in the winners enclosure as Shared Equity followed his Newcastle success under Graham Lee.

Tomorrow provides us with the first Classic of the season, with the Qipco 2000 Guineas taking centre stage at Newmarket.

We could well see another proper star in the shape of the John Gosden trained Kingman.

Red-hot favourite in the ante-post markets following his startling display in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury, the Khalid Abdullahowned colt is aiming to give Gosden his first win in the Classic.

However, the Clarehaven handler is well aware of the task he faces as Aidan O’Brien has left no one in any doubt of the regard in which he holds Australia, who is a product of Galileo and Ouija Board.

Throw into the mix Richard Hannon’s unbeaten champion juvenile Toormore and Roger Varian’s Group One winner Kingston Hill, not to mention some fascinating overseas contenders, and Gosden has every right to be wary.

Kingman will have James Doyle in the saddle and while he has yet to win a Classic, he will arrive at Newmarket on the crest of a wave having ridden a treble at Lingfield, his third such feat on successive days.

“I think it is a really good Guineas. Australia is being talked of as a horse who is head and shoulders above the rest at Ballydoyle.

“Every year in the northern hemisphere that (Ballydoyle) is the best collection of threeyear- olds that can be seen and the fact he is outclassing them all has got to be significant,”

said Gosden, speaking at a media conference to promote the Guineas Festival at Newmarket.

“I like the Craven winner (Toormore). I think he is one of those really tough horses; if you go by him you will know you have had a race.

“There’s a lot of depth - there’s Roger Varian’s Racing Post Trophy winner. It’s a proper Guineas.”

Gosden has repeatedly stated all winter that because of a required operation on an ankle last year he would be unwilling to risk Kingman on quick ground and the lack of recent rain has been a worry.

Closer to home, Thirsk are all set to stage a eight race card tomorrow.

The Thirsk Hunt Cup is the feature on what looks a very competitive card which gets under way at 1.55pm.

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