Turf Talk: Ding dong battle expected for Carlisle Bell

Tim Boulter
Tim Boulter

WITH Royal Ascot done and dusted we quickly move on to Carlisle’s highlight of the year, though not quite on the same scale as Ascot, Carlisle Bell and Cumberland Plate day is a highly anticipated race day for many and one I personally look forward to, both races have attracted good numbers and look very competitive renewals.

3.30 Carlisle Bell

The Carlisle Bell looks fiercely a competitive field with plenty of in form runners coming into the contest but it’s the unexposed Amaze that makes most appeal for me making his handicap debut. At Ripon last time out in a maiden on his seasonal re-appearance he cruised his way through the contest over 10f and heading into the final two he was travelling all over the field. He seemed to take a bit of time to get his head in front between the final two but I think he may have just been idling a little bit but eventually at the line he had come clear and looked well on top. He was a big price that day but he was also lumping away weight to four year olds and he does look to have some scope and into handicaps now he is open to further improvement. The drop back in trip shouldn’t be a concern on this stiff track on softer conditions and if anything should suit him. I have a suspicion the softer conditions are needed having struggled on his first two racecourse appearances on a lot quicker ground and with so much in favour this lightly raced Ellison project could be a lot better than we have seen of him yet.

4.05 Cumberland Plate

The Cumberland Plate is likely to prove a bit of test with seventeen runners set to line up in soft conditions and a runner that may relish the day is Lexi’s Boy. Donald McCain has shown he was knows what he is doing with his flat exploits over the last couple of seasons, most memorably with Overturn and then of course enjoying a successful Chester meeting this year winning the Chester Cup with Ile De Re and also winning with Absinthe. Lexi’s Boy having joined the McCain stable from Kevin Ryan before the winter has done nothing but improve over hurdles since his disappointing debut which culminated in a valuable handicap hurdle win at Sandown when last see in April. If he can transfer the improvement shown in that sphere back to the flat he could prove ahead of his current handicap mark. He won his last start on the flat for Kevin Ryan and was still looking progressive and if he returns here in form he should have a big chance.


Another big chance on the card for Brian Ellison is Best Trip. Previously he was trained by Richard Guest but since joining the Ellison camp three runs ago he has shown a massive turn around in form and on the best of his old form he could prove very well handicapped. Brian Ellison is exceptional with this type of runner and excels at improving runners from other yards or getting them back to their best. Racing over seven furlongs at Warwick is notoriously difficult to come from off the pace but he quickened and swept the field aside comfortably last time out to win easily and though coming back to five furlongs here he shouldn’t have any problems having been fast enough to wing round Kempton’s five furlong track before now. It was testing under foot last time out at Warwick and he should face similar conditions here and over this stiff five furlongs he has a big chance of landing the hat trick.


3.30 - Amaze

4.05 - Lexi’s Boy

5.05 - Best Trip