Skip to content

Leonna Mayor Racing League blog: Yorkshire team manager looking to finish with a flourish at Newcastle

Yorkshire currently sit fifth in the Racing League standings, with London & The South leading the way with 613 points; they sit ahead of Wales & The West on 577 points, with The East and The North back in third and fourth respectively

Yorkshire will look to move further up the Racing League in the final meeting at Newcastle on Thursday.
Image: Yorkshire will look to move further up the Racing League in the final meeting at Newcastle on Thursday

Sky Sports Racing presenter and Yorkshire team manager Leonna Mayor talks through all of her runners in Thursday's final Racing League meeting from Newcastle.

The climax to the Racing League could not be more exciting, with London and The South and Wales and The West taking the competition right to the wire. Even The East in third place can still get their noses in front.

It really is all to play for in Race Week 6 at Newcastle on Thursday, but unfortunately my team is too many points behind to challenge for the glory. That said, we have some nice enough chances across the card to put in a flying finish and claw our way up the table.

Frankie Dettori
Image: Frankie Dettori rides at Newcastle on Thursday

With a full complement of runners, we certainly mean business. We have two chances in each of the seven races, including the opening William Hill Bet Boost Racing League Race Thirty-Six Handicap (5.45) over the extended 1m 4f.

Jess Macey runs course-and-distance winner TRINITY GIRL, who has been running well in defeat lately. She was only beaten half a length in a previous Racing League heat at Gosforth Park, when a slowly run race just didn't suit her. Hopefully they'll go a good gallop and the 5lb that young Oisin McSweeney takes off can only boost her chances.

Also representing us in the first race is Julie Camacho's consistent SHAKE A LEG, who won a Class 4 handicap at Ripon in May off just a 3lb lower mark. His record suggests he's not as good on the all-weather - he's 0-10 - but on the plus side, he does have the assistance of the excellent Paul Mulrennan, who rides Newcastle as well as anyone.

Tim Easterby's JEWEL MAKER has winning form at this track and bolted up at Haydock Park last month, so looks a serious contender in the William Hill Play Responsibly Racing League Race Thirty-Seven Handicap (6.15). Dave Allan said the muddling pace around Lingfield just didn't suit him in an earlier round, but this expansive track is right up his street.

Racing League standings ahead of Week 6
Image: Racing League standings ahead of Week 6

We also run JEAN BAPTISTE from the Roger Fell stable, a gelding who ran well over 10f at Newcastle's Racing League fixture on 25th August. He's high enough in the weights but Oisin's 5lb claim should make him competitive.

Roger and Oisin combine again in the William Hill Build Your Odds Racing League Race Thirty-Eight Handicap (6.45) with GLOBAL SPIRIT, who is fairly handicapped but hasn't won on synthetics in 10 tries, but my best chance could be Tim Easterby's bottom-weight STRONGBOWE.

Tim had three or four lined up for this but insisted he wanted to run this gelding, who makes his all-weather debut under Cam Hardie. I seriously thought Ruth Carr could have had two winners in Race Week 5 at Southwell last week until the meeting was abandoned in light of the sad news of Her Majesty The Queen's passing, but compensation may await.

She represents us in the William Hill Best Odds Guaranteed Racing League Race Thirty-Nine Handicap (7.15) with course-and-distance winner SWISS ACE, who showed his liking for this 7f trip under Jo Mason back in April.

With Paul Mulrennan up, he must go well, while Julie Camacho's three-year-old FLASH THE DASH is an interesting runner on his first start since being gelded. He won a novice at Newcastle last year and will be dangerous off a falling mark if he can get back to that kind of form.

Paul was as keen as mustard to get on COTAI PEARL in the 6f William Hill Extra Place Races Racing League Race Forty Nursery Handicap (7.45). Bryan Smart's filly got off the mark on her nursery debut at Carlisle last week and is 1lb well in, despite her penalty.

She's joined by Ed Bethell's ROCK OF ENGLAND, who finished in the pack in a hot event at York last time but may do better with first-time cheekpieces in place. Ruth Carr would have had an outstanding chance of a winner with the in-form BADRI at Southwell last week and he looks the one to beat in the William Hill Lengthen Your Odds Racing League Race Forty-One Handicap (8.15).

Racing League live on Sky Sports Racing
Racing League live on Sky Sports Racing

Don't miss a single minute of the action as the Racing League continues at Windsor, live on Sky Sports Racing, on Thursday, September 1

She's got this five-year-old in the form of his life, so an 8lb hike for his earlier course-and-distance win in this competition might not be enough to stop him. He provides Paul (Mulrennan) with yet another outstanding chance and is supported by Tim Easterby's PANAMA CITY, who sneaks in off the lightest weight. This Beverley maiden winner could be an interesting recruit to the all-weather.

The last race - the William Hill Pick Your Places Racing League Race Forty-Two Handicap (8.45) - could be a real cliff-hanger, with Matt Chapman's London and The South and Jamie Osborne's Wales and The West locking horns.

If it's still neck and neck between the two teams, the 'banter' will be unbearable. I plan to ruffle a few feathers myself with THE BELL CONDUCTOR and MUKER, both from the excellent stable of Paul Midgley. The former has something to prove on his return from a long break and must prove he likes this track as much as Southwell, where he is three-from-three.

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe live on Sky Sports Racing
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe live on Sky Sports Racing

Watch every race of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe weekend from ParisLongchamp live on Sky Sports Racing on October 1-2

He is clearly a talented sprinter, a comment that also applies to Muker - smart as a two-year-old when he was third in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot, before finishing second in a Group 3 on Polytrack in Ireland. He's tumbled a long way down the weights.

As it's the final round, I will be playing my final Joker but will make up my mind which horse(s) I'll be putting maximum faith in a little nearer the time. Being Yorkshire's team manager has been great fun and I'd like to thank all my owners, trainers and jockeys for supporting me. A special shout out must go to Tim Easterby, who has been a great help. He even sent a boat load to Lingfield Park even though he doesn't normally have runners there.

Ruth Carr has been wonderful to work with, too, and is always on the phone offering her help on race days, while Cam Hardie deserves a special mention for riding so many light weights for me.

The biggest thing I'll be taking from Racing League is the opportunity it's given me to make new friends in racing, whether it be owners, trainers or jockeys. There's been some great camaraderie, so hopefully we can all enjoy a successful final night and go out with a bang!

Around Sky