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Ulster ace hits form after injury setback

By Frank Brownlow

Ulster jockey Martin Harley has showed that it's not just the jumps game in which riders have to battle back from adversity.

Harley suffered horrific injuries in a fall on the Flat at Lingfield in March in which he fractured four ribs and a bone in his neck.

The 24-year-old's mount Red Art was fatally injured in the incident.

Harley had to wear a neck brace for six weeks, returning to action in May – and since then he has gone from strength to strength with a remarkable run of results, culminating in a stunning 70-1 treble at Yarmouth on Thursday.

Harley has four rides at Haydock today – Charity Line, Forgotten Hero, Apostle and Al Busayyir, with big chances on the latter two.

Harley's Forgotten Hero is up against trainer Luca Cumani's Havana Cooler in the bet365 Old Newton Cup. The four-year-old, also under consideration for the Ebor at York, returned from a 10-month absence to finish an eyecatching third behind Arab Spring in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot.

"It was a very good start at Ascot seeing as it was his first run since last August," said Cumani.

"He goes there in good form. The longer straight will suit him much better."

De Rigueur bounced back to form after two below-par efforts this term when springing a 25-1 surprise at Newmarket five weeks ago.

The six-year-old won over two miles on this course last summer but he is just as effective over a mile and a half, as he showed on his latest start.

"We were a bit disappointed with his first two starts this year, but he had setback at the end of last year," said trainer Marco Botti.

"He had a lot of time off and he needed a couple of runs to get back to his best. He was probably a little bit rusty.

"I thought the conditions at Newmarket suited him. He wants a bit of cut in the ground.

"We didn't run him last week at Newcastle (in the Northumberland Plate) as the ground was too quick, but he's capable of running a good race at that level.

"He won over further at Haydock last year. He's gone up a few pounds, but he is still capable of winning off his mark."

Strictly Silver could only finish eighth in this race last year, but trainer Alan Bailey felt the horse had valid excuses as the ground was too quick and he was drawn on the wide outside.

Fresh from a win at Ayr last time, Strictly Silver has a better draw in stall 10 and ground conditions should be more suitable.

"The ground was too firm for him in this race last year," said Bailey. "I want the ground to have the word 'good' in the description – good to firm or good to soft would be fine.

"He's very well. He was put up 5lb for his win at Ayr but he's still better off than he was in this race last year.

"He had a bad draw then as well. He was drawn 18, but he's in the middle this time."

Belfast Telegraph


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