Opening night treble sees Saffie Osborne dominate Racing League once more

Saffie Osborne’s love affair with the Racing League looks set to continue as she began this season’s competition with a fantastic opening night treble.

The 21-year-old was one of the stars of last year’s six-week event, scooping top honours thanks to an inspired three-timer at Newcastle on the final night of action and she picked up where she left off as the 2023 edition kicked off at Yarmouth.

Osborne’s efforts ensured that defending champions Wales and The West – managed by her father Jamie Osborne – ended the night in top spot holding a narrow 11-point advantage over Frankie Dettori’s team, The East.

Osborne’s evening started with a bang as although slightly reluctant to enter the stalls, Rod Millman’s Chinese Knot (11-2) showed plenty of guts to hold off Michael Dods’ Midnight Lir at the business end of the opening nursery.

“We’ve started the way we finished last year,” Jamie Osborne told Sky Sports Racing.

“I’ve got a great team of trainers and unlike some, mine are right behind this and behind their leader.”

Wales and The West quickly extended their advantage at the top of the table when winning race two with Ed Walker’s Dark Trooper (12-1), before The East’s player-manager Dettori was narrowly denied a winner with his first ride of the night aboard Shahbaz as the one-mile handicap went to Dean Ivory’s Achillea (9-2).

However, The East did not have to wait long to get on the scoreboard on home soil as George Margarson’s Farhh To Shy (100-30 joint-favourite) proved superior in the hands of Callum Shepherd in race four and the East were also on the scoresheet when Dettori closed the show in style with a fantastic front-running ride aboard Cumulonimbus (11-2), leading home a one-two for his region in the concluding £100,000 handicap.

Dettori said: “It’s great to win the big race of the day, it’s good for the team and good for (trainer) Charlie Fellowes. We were first and second so that’s good.

“It’s the third year of this so I hope it takes off.”

Despite Dettori’s heroics, the night belonged to Osborne who registered her second winner of the night aboard Michael Bell’s Stone Circle (17-2) in the five-furlong sprint, before bringing up the three-timer aboard Milton Harris’ Alnilam.

She needed every yard of the one-mile-six-furlong trip to hunt down fellow Wales and The West runner Haliphon, but Osborne had a willing partner in the 9-4 favourite who stuck his head down bravely for a half-length win.

She said: “He’s a lovely horse and hopefully he will have a nice future.

“He’s still quite big and ran around a little late on, but he has a willing attitude and did everything right eventually.”

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