William Hill Great St Wilfred Stakes 6f Handicap Ripon Saturday – Named for the patron saint of Ripon, the last five runnings have been dominated by the two Yorkshire based handlers, Richard Fahey and David O’Meara. The latter has won three times with Fahey collecting twice, including last year’s renewal. Surprisingly for such a competitive contest the winners are usually well found in the market, with ten of the last fifteen winners returned at SP’s less than 12/1, and indeed the last three years have seen the Jolly himself come home in front. Dandy Nicholls has also struck twice in the race and two of his runners, Orion’s Bow, and Kimberella are towards the top of the market.
A winner of his previous five races Orion’s Bow lost nothing in defeat when finishing second to the better drawn, and well handicapped Dancing Star in the Steward’s Cup a fortnight ago, and doesn’t look badly treated of a 3lbs higher mark on Saturday. However lack of course experience would be more of a concern as not every animal handles Ripon’s undulations.
There are no such concerns with stable mate Kimberella who has won once and been placed twice from his seven course appearances. He also ran in the “Stewards” and from an even worse draw than his stable companion, finished 13th of the 27 runners, (beaten 4 1/2L) but as he never really got a clear run, he is easily excused. A reproduction of his previous effort, when winning a Class2 handicap at York, where he beat Intisaab and Related by 1 3/4L and a head off a mark of 99 would give him every chance, so despite racing off a 6lbs higher mark at the weekend, he has to be given serious consideration.
The David O’Meara operation after a quiet period is beginning to fire on all cylinders so confidence in his 5yo Intisaab has to be increased. Drawn on the wrong side at York plenty of use had to be made of him by the 3lbs claimer Shelly Birkett to get into a challenging position so in the circumstances his 2nd placing was pretty commendable. If again partnered by the talented Birkett he will meet his York conquerer Kimberella on 5lbs better terms for that 1 3/4L so it should be much closer between them on Saturday.
Another of the O’Meara entries, Mujassam, will need a few in the handicap above him to come out to get a run but if doing so could be interesting. Campaigned the last twice over 7f, he had put up a decent performance the last time he ran over 6f, finishing 3rd at Headquarters off a mark of 97. Racing off a 3lbs lower mark at the weekend he could be worth a second look.
Richard Fahey’s best chance of emulating the success of Don’t Touch last year would seem to lie with the 4yo Nuno Tristan. He looked a tad unlucky when finishing 5th over 7f at the Royal Meeting in June and again didn’t enjoy the best of runs when beaten a neck and 3/4L by Hoof It and Saturdays opponent, the Paul Midgely trained Related at Goodwood fourteen days ago. He is 2lbs better off with the Midgely runner on Saturday’, so given a trouble free passage could make them all go.
Another of the Fahey entries, particularly if it came up soft, that could make his presence felt is the 6yo Tatlisu. He also would need a few above him to come out to get a run, but does have plenty of form over the course, and his run at Haydock on soft ground at the beginning of July, when he got to within 2 1/2L of Hoof It off a mark of 99 would give him place prospects at least off Saturday’s mark of 95.
Richard Whitaker won this with the 7yo Damika in 2010 and must fancy his chances of a repeat with his 6yo course specialist Pipers Note. He has won four of the six course and distance handicaps he has contested on good ground or faster, last time off a mark of 99 in April 2015. Recent runs haven’t been that encouraging but does mean that he gets in on Saturday off a mark of 94.
Tom Dascombe’s 4yo Snap Shots guaranteed himself a place in the lineup when winning a course and distance Class3 handicap twelve days ago off a mark of 90. He showed plenty of grit when battling back, having been headed inside the last 100yards to win by a nose. Placed on both previous course visits this son of Kodiac could well be improving and looks well treated off 94.
Nameitwhatyoulike has only the one course victory but has certainly shown his aptitude for the venue by being placed in five of his six other Ripon appearances. He made a highly satisfactory reappearance in April over course and distance finishing 3rd off a mark of 99. He can be forgiven his run behind Orion’s Bow at Hamilton nearly three months later where he ran too freely. He does like to get his toe in so if the heavens open is worth considering to finish in the first four.
E.W. : Mujassam (if abs. Intisaab)