Just over 15 months ago, Graham Lee was steering Pokfulham to victory over hurdles at Musselburgh and tomorrow the gelding can give him his first winner in his new career as a Flat jockey.
Lee has booted home several hundred winners over obstacles – including a Grand National victory on Amberleigh House – but he decided to switch codes after recovering from injury this spring. He teams up with Pokfulham again in the Au Revoir Shand Bland Handicap (4.30) and the six-year-old can build on a promising reappearance on the level at Newcastle last month where he finished third.
That was over a mile and a half and the extra two furlongs tomorrow will be in his favour, while the easy underfoot conditions will hold no fears for a horse who has won several times over hurdles.
He won over timber here in January last year, was then runner-up on this track and at Kelso before scoring at that latter venue. He also won over hurdles at Perth last April.
After those efforts, trainer Jim Goldie concentrated on the level with his gelding and Pokfulham scored at Hamilton in June as well as being placed six times.
He finished third over this course and distance in September and was having his first outing for four months when running so well at Newcastle recently and is likely to be fitter now.
Powerful Presence cost 170,000 guineas as a yearling, but cut little ice when trained in Ireland by Dermot Weld and was sold for just 800 guineas. However, he has done really well for his current connections.
Yorkshire trainer David O’Meara saddled him to win four times last year and the gelding reappeared to win in game style at Southwell recently after a winter break of more than four months. He has gone up 2lb in the ratings and now races off a career high mark in the Daikin D1 Installer Handicap (4.00), but still gets weight from all his rivals and can make fitness tell.
Clayton is a half-brother to five winners and made an impressive winning debut at Southwell recently, coming home nine lengths clear in spite of showing a great deal of inexperience. The opposition may have been poor, but he could do no more than win in style and will have learned a lot from the outing.
The gelding is highly rated by his connections and although he faces much stronger opposition in the Semichem Handicap (3.00) – seven of the eight runners are winners – he is a progressive type who can win again.
Wild Sauce showed promise when third in both outings as a juvenile and was again placed on the all-weather during the winter before opening her winning account at Wolverhampton in February when she made all the running.
The filly was fitted with blinkers for the first time there and again wears the blinds in the opening Wee Boabs 21st Birthday Bash Handicap (2.00) when a plumb draw right next to the stands’ rail can see her score again.
Musselburgh selections: 2.00 Wild Sauce; 3.00 Clayton; 4.00 Powerful Presence; 4.30 Pokfulham.