Team Yorkshire is aiming to give the home crowd plenty to cheer about as Racing League 2022 gets underway at Doncaster on Thursday evening, August 4.
A total of 45 stables are represented by 90 runners across the seven races, while 24 out of the 49 eligible jockeys have at least one ride on the card.
Yorkshire has 13 runners primed for week one, including Quest For Fun (Julie Camacho) in race four and Jean Baptiste (Roger Fell) in race seven, with both of Oisin McSweeney’s mounts chasing a three-timer.
Team manager Leonna Mayor said: “I am glad declarations are over as it was a little stressful organising everything! It is a slightly different ballgame as trainers are used to declaring at the last minute whereas now everything has to go through me. I have tried to make sure that everyone is happy.
“I am excited as I think we have decent chances in every race. Quest For Fun should have a massive chance in the six-furlong handicap, with Oisin McSweeney taking five pounds off, and I have had Emaraaty Hero pencilled in for the 12-furlong handicap for a good while. Like Quest For Fun, Jean Baptiste has won his last two and I am claiming off him for the same reason.
“They would be our three main hopes and I will be distraught if we don’t have a winner. I think we are the hardest-working team and hard work pays!”
Having led Team Talksport to victory in 2021, Rupert Bell is hoping to repeat the feat as team manager of The East and expects jockey Kieran Shoemark to play a starring role. Shoemark is a 20/1 chance with William Hill to be leading jockey.
Bell said: “I was surprised to see Kieran Shoemark at those sort of odds. All the trainers I speak to are very pleased to have Kieran on our side, hence why he has six rides on week one.”
Regarding The East’s leading chances at Doncaster, Bell said: “George Boughey is very happy with X J Rascal ahead of the nursery. He ran a cracker at Goodwood last week, when he was only beaten a head, and he runs here off the same mark.
“Marco Botti has three nice chances, including Nao Da Mais, who was a winner last time out at Kempton, while Charlie Fellowes is sweet on the prospects of Fresh Hope in the seven-furlong handicap.
“I am very happy with the support we had from trainers for week one and hopefully we can get some good points on the board.”
Bell also had a message for the other team managers: “When you are the defending champion, you are always a marked man. I would like to remind them not to get too cocky too soon.”
Kevin Blake believes a strong showing from Ireland could prove ominous for the opposing teams, with the majority of his Irish-based trainers keeping their powder dry for week one.
Blake said: “I am pretty happy with the team we have for week one. Truthfully, my feeling from the beginning was that week one and week two would be the trickiest for us because they are coming just after the Galway Festival. In terms of the Irish trainers, that meeting is a big target for them.
“We have had some good fun in the team managers’ group chat. I think a few of them have had the most stressful experience of their lives this morning trying to sort out who runs where. I haven’t been in that boat due to the volume of entries, but I am expecting that to change as the competition goes on.
“I thought I would be short on Irish entries this week, which I was, but the two Jessica Harrington-trained runners Tauran Shaman and Princess Rajj would look to have strong chances.”
Of Ireland’s other leading hopes, Blake said: “I think David O’Meara’s runner in the 12-furlong handicap, Animato, is interesting. He is on a bit of a roll and is still unexposed over a mile and a half. I reckon we probably have quite a strong hand in the five-furlong handicap as well, with Alligator Alley and Kape Moss.
“I think we are in decent shape to be competitive and potentially pick up a result or two, but I suspect all the other team managers are thinking that as well – Matt Chapman thinks he is going to go through the card!”
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