London and The South (340 points) lead Wales and The West and The East after week two of Racing League at Lingfield Park; Frankie Dettori rides first winner of competition; watch week three from Newcastle live on Sky Sports Racing on August 25
Friday 12 August 2022 06:20, UK
Frankie Dettori made a winning start to his Racing League campaign at Lingfield on Thursday, but was dramatically denied a double in a thrilling finale as leaders London and The South extended their advantage.
Having missed the opening week of the team competition at Doncaster, Dettori was the star attraction on night two and delivered at the first attempt for Wales and The West with Milton Harris' Postmark.
London and The South arrived with a 46-point lead and, after a steady start, made their mark once more with a double on the seven-race card.
Royal Ascot heroes clash in an epic Group Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, live on Sky Sports Racing on Sunday, August 14
The big movers in the table were The East, lifting themselves off the bottom with victory in the opening race and following that up with a number of placed efforts, adding valuable points to their overall total.
Ireland also enjoyed their first victory of the competition but head to Newcastle for week three, live on Sky Sports Racing on August 25, trailing their six rivals.
The East were in desperate need of a fast start to night two, starting bottom of the table after a poor showing at Doncaster, and they got just that.
Rae Guest's 14/1 shot Cry Havoc got the crucial run along Lingfield's far rail under Ray Dawson and held on bravely to beat London and The South's Street Kid.
That added a huge 25 points for Rupert Bell's side, with team-mate Natural Path contributing a further 15 points in third.
Bell told Sky Sports Racing: "I am particular happy because as many people will know I'm an Aston Villa fan and last week we had a shocking week, both them and team East!
"Ray Dawson rides this place so well and we saw that today.
"The only way is up! We're back in the ball game. It's a marathon not a sprint, Matt Chapman!"
There was also a huge boost for The North in the second contest of the evening as Buckshaw Village (14/1) scored for Harrison Shaw and Richard Fahey.
The East continued their fine start with Ideal Guest (18/1) coming home second and 11/4 favourite Consensus De Vega fourth, with the late rallying Honky Tonk Man (3/1) third for Wales and The West.
Shaw told Sky Sports Racing: "That was a case of right place, right time. He jumped out well, had a good position and got a nice lead.
"It was his first time on this surface and he obviously liked it. It's good to land a nice prize like this."
It did not take long for the runaway leaders to make their mark as top rider Sean Levey led home a one-two for Matt Chapman's side, with Richard Hannon's Immortal Beauty (9/2) beating Paul and Oliver Cole's Sunningdale (5/2 favourite), ridden by Danny Muscutt in the two-year-old nursery race.
That was winner number four of Racing League for Levey, who is a warm favourite to claim the £20,000 bonus for the competition's top jockey.
Levey told Sky Sports Racing: "She has done that really well, she's a horse with loads of speed.
"She got a bit lost but it's one of those things with those from Cotai Glory. With the way the races are panning out, everyone wants to be that little bit handier."
Dettori was the star attraction and got his Racing League campaign off to the perfect start with victory for Wales and The West on the Milton Harris-trained Postmark (7/1).
The East's 11/4 favourite Zenga looked a big danger for a long way under Dawson but could only manage second ahead of Scotland's Le Forban.
Dettori told Sky Sports Racing: "Milton Harris is happy, Jamie [Osborne, team manager] and my team Wales and The West have some money and some points on the board!
"Milton said to me before, you've ridden me six seconds in the past and never a winner! Now we're quits!"
London and The South manager Chapman went for the jugular in race five, playing his first Joker card, meaning double points for his two runners.
But, there were mixed results as Wales and The West came home in front, with Saffie Osborne getting in on the action on Clive Cox's Tregony (10/1).
Menai Bridge did earn a significant 36 points for finishing second under Muscutt, with The East filling third and fourth with Prydwen and Taravara.
It took until the sixth race on week two for Ireland to get on the board as 18/1 Merlin's Beard lifted the spirits of team manager Kevin Blake.
Top rider Rossa Ryan timed his attack to perfection, arriving late to pick off The North's Fair Star (16/1) and Yorkshire's Qaasid (25/1).
The East blew their big chance to close the gap to the leaders after playing their Joker and only managing fourth with Purple Ribbon.
The top two in the team standings went head-to-head in the final race as Dettori set off in search of a double on 7/2 favourite Country Pyle, a half-sister to King George hero Pyledriver for the same trainers William Muir and Chris Grassick.
As the field turned for home, Dettori made his move and looked for a long way like the winner, but Muscutt timed his ride on Tom Ward's Diamond Bay (4/1) to perfection to win by three-quarters of a length.
Zain Nights and Saffie Osborne came in third ahead of King Francis for The East.