Just under a year on from an attritional win at Warwick, Bassarabad was back to winning ways yesterday, getting the better of the long-time leader in another slog-fest of a staying handicap chase, on this occasion at Wetherby.
Though the eventual second (only two finished) looked to go off very hard, the winning time of 7m15s will surely be one of the slowest of the season, but that sort of extreme test seems to suit Bassarabad and he kept on stoutly up the home straight to win by 15 lengths under Alan Johns. There are races for him at Ffos Las and Warwick (on the same card he won on last year) next month and hopefully he can make a very bold bid to follow up. Congratulations to his owner Dave Pearn.
Yesterday was a desperately sad day for racing, with the news that Richard Woollacott had died, aged just 40. Richard was a friend to everyone that knew him, a hugely popular character in National Hunt racing, and a trainer who was just beginning to enjoy the rewards for all the hard work he had put in, with Lalor winning the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree last April (pictured right) and Beer Goggles giving him his greatest success on the racecourse when winning the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in December. He will be very sorely missed by us all.