Linda Perratt expecting Team Scotland resurgence

Linda Perratt expects a little more of the Braveheart mentality when Scotland bid to drag themselves off the bottom of the 2023 Racing League table.

Chepstow will host a Racing League fixture for the first time next Thursday, with Scotland at the foot of the table with 12 points – some 152 behind leaders Wales and The West – after a disappointing showing at Yarmouth on the opening night.

“It wasn’t the best of starts and unfortunately we only had five runners going into it, but Great Yarmouth from Scotland, for Scottish trainers, is a fair effort,” said team captain Perratt.

“Jim Goldie went down with two and Iain Jardine’s horse unfortunately stood on a nail and another horse was lame too, so we were a bit unlucky.

“We had the favourite for the last (Like A Tiger, trained by James Ferguson), which I thought might get us out of trouble, and while he ran a good race, he just didn’t quite get there (fifth).

“The ground didn’t help. The soft ground suited some and not others.

“We always thought Yarmouth would be hard for the Scottish team. The Newmarket trainers, going into Goodwood, had eyes on York and Ascot, so some kept their powder dry for those meetings. It was difficult for us, but hopefully we will get that sorted and we’ll be back on it.”

With a team that includes jockeys Oisin Murphy, Hayley Turner and Paul Mulrennan, plus trainers such as Andrew Balding, David Menuisier, Heather Main and George Baker, confidence is high that the navy blue caps will quickly rise up the Racing League table.

“We have got the best jockeys I think, and some of the best trainers,” said Perratt. “Hopefully they will start to support the Racing League for us – we can only go with what we’ve got.”

Always bubbly and upbeat, Glasgow trainer Perratt insists she enjoyed night one of the competition, which pits seven regions against each other over 42 races on six Thursday evening meetings. Each team accumulates points based on the finishing position of the horses, with the Racing League concluding at Southwell’s fixture on September 13.

She laughed: “I thoroughly enjoy it, although I think if the lady commentator at the track said ‘no points for Scotland’ one more time, I might have shoved her microphone where the sun don’t shine – considering the fact we didn’t have any runner at the time!

“I now know how Kevin Blake (team captain for Ireland) felt last year. But it is lovely and relaxed, great fun, and I got to go to Yarmouth for the first time.

“Thankfully the last three are at Newcastle, Wolverhampton and Southwell.

“The first one was just difficult and the ground put a few off as well. Hopefully the next one will be better… maybe!

“But we’ll be back strong. Scotland doesn’t go down defeated. The Braveheart people will be on it!”

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