• Focus on trainer Philip Kirby
  • Louis Vac Pouch swerves Kempton on Saturday for either Cheltenham or Aintree tilt

By Andrew Atkinson

Philip Kirby saddles runners at on Friday in what the Richmond, north Yorkshire, Green Oaks Farm stables based trainer describes as ‘a real challenge’ in the midst of awful weather in the UK.

“It’s a real challenge for our team in this awful weather – it’s wild and windy,” said Philip, who saddles eight runners on the AW jumpers bumpers card at Newcastle and runners at Warwick and Wolverhampton.

“It’s very pleasing that Newcastle are staging a bumpers card on Friday, as it gets our horses a good outside gallop – when they don’t want heavy ground,” said Philip.

“We are running some of our classiest jumpers, including new arrival Louis Vac Pouch, and our exciting novice hurdle winner, Show Promise,” said Philip, who also saddles Winfola, winner of the ‘Spanish Oaks’ as a 3 year old.

“Winfola has a tricky race, in trying to beat Dark Lochnagar, who is also a classy flat horse, and the likely short priced favourite. “We’re claiming 7lbs with new Conditional, Joe Williamson, and whatever happens it will keep her ticking over, until we get some better ground,” said Philip.

Show Promise
Show Promise

Show Promise

“We’ve been looking forward to running homebred winner, Show Promise over hurdles again, but this meeting has come at the right time, as everywhere we seem to enter him goes heavy at the moment and he’d prefer a sounder surface.

“He stays every yard of this 2 miles and is getting the opportunity to win his bumper at an unconventionally fifth attempt.

“He’s had three seconds so far and he must be right in the mix for a win. Ginflix and Mrs Hyde look the obvious dangers,” said Philip.

Louis Vac Pouch
Louis Vac Pouch

Louis Vac Pouch

“The high class Louis Vac Pouch swerves a big handicap at Kempton on Saturday for what we hope will be a confidence boosting run and a pipe opener for either Cheltenham and Aintree.

“Or possibly straight to Aintree, as he’s shown a liking for the flat track at Liverpool and won there a year ago. He’s been straightforward since he arrived with us, and is paper favourite today for his race at (3.10) with Ross Chapman jocked up,” said Philip.

Philip saddles each way chances – NIVEN, multiple AW specialist THE RESDEV WAY, OAK VINTAGE who has had a nice break to freshen up, and the hurdling duo ROMEO BROWN & SUGGESTION.

At Warwick Philip saddles exciting novice mare hurdlers contesting the re- arranged Grade 2 ‘Jane Seymour’ mares novices hurdle – Desaray Girl who carries a penalty for her Haydock Listed success over Christmas, and talented flat performer ‘Rayna’s World’ who has run two promising races over hurdles so far and will handle the heavy ground well.

“It’s a classy race as you would expect for this Grade and with good prizemoney on offer they both take their chance,” said Philip.

Philip also saddles runners on the flat at Wolverhampton: “Madeeh has been in the grip of the handicapper for a while, but hss not been running badly.

“Red Dragoness, who will be watched by the handicapper, has her second flat start and she will need a mark to be competitive in this sphere, as you have to take on million pound flat purchases in these novices and maidens,” said Philip.

Philip, who saddled Mr Carbonator to finish second at Southwell on Thursday, said: “That next win for him must be round the corner.”

*Photographs courtesy Philip Kirby.