Jackson-Fennell has strong hand at Woodford in pursuit of novice title
by Andrew King
Seven well supported contests await racegoers at Woodford on Saturday (22nd April) with a healthy entry of 88 and the first race off-time scheduled for 2pm. Following the recent rain the underfoot conditions at the course are predicted to be near perfect with the ground being described as "soft and good to soft in places" with a mainly dry week ahead.
The featured Jockey Club Champion Mares Maiden Final is a fairly tight contest on paper but Amber Jackson-Fennell, who is chasing the Lady Novice Riders title, could well provide the answer as she has entered Grenadine Save as well as Queen Kalamba. And it is the latter who takes the eye as she showed a good attitude to score recently at Paxford on her comeback outing when she kept galloping all the way to the line and scored a shade comfortably.
She seems to act on most types of ground and is entitled to build on the Paxford success given that was her first outing for 12 months. She looks the ideal mare to lift the decent prize.
Her stablemate Grenadine Save finished third in the race a year ago when partnered by Will Biddick. However, she was beaten a fair way and the other mare may have more to offer, being the fresher of the pair at this stage of the season.
The star attraction on the card as far as back-class is concerned is undoubtedly the Jason Maguire-trained One For Rosie as he was very smart under Rules a couple of seasons ago. He is likely to take in the Conditions (Level 2) contest. He is is unbeaten in two attempts between the flags for Maguire and his wife Lauren and was particularly impressive when ploughing a lone furrow home at Maisemore Park last month.
Maguire has also entered his charge in the Hunt Members race and the Ladies Conditions race but he is likely to bypass both races and take in the Conditions affair. The trainer said: "One For Rosie has done nothing wrong in his two runs and I am keen to get another run into him while the ground is still decent. If he passes this test with flying colours we might consider going to Stratford's hunter chase meeting next month."
With One For Rosie sidestepping the Hunt Members race which kicks off the card, there is every chance the way may be clear for Maguire's Barney Dwan to regain winning ways after finishing second at Chaddesley Corbett last Saturday. He said: " Barney is not getting any younger at 13 years of age and he keeps bumping into one too good but he is absolutely bouncing after his run last weekend and there is every chance he will be in the Members line up."
With Barney Dwan and One For Rosie skipping the Ladies Conditions (Level 1) contest, Tom Ellis' Tigerbythetail should be able to extend his winning sequence with his wife Gina Andrews in the saddle. The seven-year-old could do with a little fine tuning in the jumping stakes but he is now unbeaten in four points and that may well be five on Saturday afternoon.
Yippee Ki Yay made an April fool of himself when running out at Bitterley on the first day of the month but made amends when hacking up around Dingley. He could prove the solution to the Intermediate. Lagan Valley appears a real threat if making an appearance but connections will have to get their thinking caps as he holds entries at Holnicote on the same afternoon and Tabley 24 hours later.
My Friend Freddie has been consistent without winning and he found himself much too far out of his ground at Sandon before staying on well to finish third. His turn may come in the Conditions (Level 3).
The Maiden which concludes the card does not appear as if it will take that much winning and Just In A Bit, who finished third in a better race at Eyton-On-Severn may get off the mark at the second time of asking.