Amateur jockey Millie Wonnacott is aiming to continue her good recent run by landing the biggest prize of her career on Fingerontheswitch in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.
Wonnacott, who claims 7lb, sprang to prominence at Kempton earlier this month, winning on Neil Mulholland’s charge, and is reunited with him in a prestigious contest formerly known as the Great Yorkshire Chase.
“He gave me some thrill at Kempton and I can’t wait to ride him again, I love him to bits,” said Wonnacott.
“He’s got loads of ability, it’s just getting it out of him. He’s in flying form at the moment and we just need to keep that going. We get on well, he seems to like me. The owners are very kind to let me keep the ride on him.
“To win a race like this would just mean everything. You want to be riding in big races like this and to win again would be incredible.
“It’s been going well recently, I’ve been very lucky and some people have been saying some very nice things.
“Hopefully if we can win again, a few more people might take notice and give me rides – that’s the aim. I’m really excited about it.”
Sue Smith’s string endured a slow start to the season, but they have hit form with a vengeance in recent weeks and jockey Danny Cook is hoping it continues with Ravenhill Road.
Big wins in recent weeks for Midnight Shadow, Joke Dancer and Vintage Clouds have signalled a renaissance and Ravenhill Road won last time out at Haydock.
“We’re hoping the win last time will have boosted his confidence, because he was very highly thought of by Brian Ellison in his younger days,” said Cook.
“Hopefully he’s still at the right end of the handicap, so we’ve decided to have a go at a big one while that is still the case.
“He’s stepping up in trip, but he was very good the last day over two-five when he picked up well after the last and finished strongly. He won an Irish point as a four-year-old and he’s nine now, so he should stay and the ground will be perfect.
“He’s in good form at home, there are no real excuses and the yard is going well now, we’ve had nice winners the last three Saturdays, so hopefully it continues.”
Nicky Richards’ Chidswell won the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster last season and returns to try to win the other famous staying chase on Town Moor.
“Chidswell has won a Grimthorpe at Doncaster, but we brought him in later than the others as we took him to Perth for their Gold Cup,” said Richards.
“That didn’t work out as he’d been on the go too long.
“I still think there’s one or two nice races left in him, he stays well and likes Doncaster. He blew up first time out, but still ran a nice race and will have come on for that.”
Alan King has three runners, headed by Dingo Dollar who brings good course form to the table.
”Dingo Dollar ran another sound race in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November considering the ground was softer than he likes,” King told his website.
“He has enjoyed a good break since, with this race very much in mind. Doncaster suits him – he wants a flat, left-handed track and has a good record at the track. Having won there as a novice, he finished sixth in this race last year after which he was second in the Grimthorpe.”
Good Man Pat and Azzerti also run for the Barbury Castle handler, who added: “Like Dingo Dollar, Azzerti is also best going left-handed. He was staying on well to finish fifth in his first try at three miles at Ascot last time, and the ground was bottomless there, so these improved conditions will be more in his favour.
“Good Man Pat looked to be out of his comfort-zone back down in trip in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in mid-December. He looked a little light after that run and has had a break since, so we are stepping him back up to three miles here, though he looked not to stay that trip when we tried him at Ascot in November.”
Top Irish amateur Derek O’Connor is reunited with Nicky Henderson’s top weight Ok Corral who needs to return to the smart form he showed at Warwick last season as a novice.
“He’s carrying a lot of weight and his form hasn’t been wonderful this year, but we’re hoping a return to a track quite similar to Warwick will spark him back to life,” said O’Connor.
“It’s a bit of an ask because he’s not just sparking at the moment, but he’s been a bit unfortunate with horses falling in front of him.
“Hopefully conditions will be in his favour and he runs a nice race.”