Noukari to clean up


Sit tight and wait for the best till last with Noukari on the final race of a typical, marathon eight-race card at Southwell today. Once horses hit form on the all-weather, particularly over longer trips, it becomes a case of "same again please" as they repeatedly gallop their rivals into submission.

Noukari, a winner at Southwell last Friday, looks a classic case in the End of a Great Day at Southwell Races Amateur Riders' Handicap.

The five-year-old has taken a while to find his niche in racing, but now seems to have done so.

After twice finishing second at Wolverhampton, Noukari hit the target in an amateurs' race over a mile and a half at today's venue, staying on strongly to beat Kpolo two and a half lengths.

He now steps up to a mile and three-quarters, but David Evans' reaction immediately after Friday's win was: "He wants further."

Noukari will be ridden by Evans' son Anthony, one of the best amateurs around.

All his opponents look exposed and Noukari is expected to soon occupy a prominent pitch and dictate the outcome of the race.

Kieren Fallon is in action, before heading off to Hong Kong later this week, and should be rewarded with a winner aboard Holy Smoke in division two of the Jack Kirkland Handicap.

A course and distance winner earlier in the year, Holy Smoke showed his well-being with a three-length defeat of Wilton at Musselburgh earlier this month.

The three-year-old is only 2lb higher today. Steve Kettlewell won the Southwell Golf Club Median Auction Maiden last year with Aeolina and can repeat the trick with Nocturne.

The filly has recently joined the Middleham trainer from John Hills. Her last run for the latter was a head second to River Captain over course and distance and a reproduction of that form should suffice.

At Windsor, Lotschberg Express can follow up a recent course win in the Happy Birthday Tote Placepot Handicap Hurdle.

David Gandolfo's mare sauntered home by 14 lengths from Catherine's Way in a novices' handicap and can cope with this rise in grade.

Ludlow offers a trappy card, but Jenny Pitman's Hipparque is suggested in the Racing Channel Novices' Handicap, and she has prospects of making it a double with Count Campioni in the Leominster Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

At Wolverhampton on Saturday, Kieren Fallon achieved a personal best of 204 winners with a 25 to 1 double on Nomore Mr Niceguy (11-2) and Ranaan (3-1). Suffering from a heavy cold, Fallon gave up the chance of a treble when he handed over the winning ride on Zechariah to Robbie Fitzpatrick.

And Earth Summit waltzed his way around the demanding course at Aintree as he made a victorious return to the scene of his greatest triumph. Back in action for the first time since his memorable Grand National success last April, the 10-year-old was left to record a bloodless victory in the Tote Becher Chase.