Osborne wary of Irish challenge as Racing League hits Windsor

Racing League leaders Wales & The West head into the halfway point at Windsor on Thursday with a 77 point lead but team manager Jamie Osborne is taking nothing for granted.

After 14 races of the team competition, they have won six events in defence of the title they won last year.

Yet again Osborne’s daughter Saffie has stepped up to the plate, with an incredible five winners, and she will be full of confidence once more, fresh from her Shergar Cup exploits.

While feeling quietly confident over his week three squad, Osborne is refusing to get carried away, especially as Kevin Blake’s Ireland team have emerged from the pack as serious challengers.

“Chinese Knot should have a favourite’s chance in the nursery as she won at Chepstow like a penalty would not stop her. We managed to win three races last year with Tregony and it would be a great achievement by Rod (Millman) and his team if that was to happen,” said Osborne.

“I think we have two of the least exposed horses in the five-furlong handicap – Libra Tiger was very impressive last time dropping back in trip and Crimson Angel could be anything after winning two of her three starts.

“The same could be said about Gallant Lion and Fulfilled in the extended 11-furlong handicap. Both horses are on a bit of a roll and their respective trainers (Tony Carroll and David Simcock) think there is still more improvement to come.

“We also look strong in the mile handicap for three-year-olds. Man Of Eden is solid for all that he does not win much, while Zoukster is on the upgrade still and I don’t think the handicapper has him yet.

“The way the leaderboard is, and the way he has pulled his finger out, I would say Kevin Blake’s team (Ireland) are going to be the biggest threat to us. I will be keeping an eye on what the green team is doing.

“There is still all to play for because the leaderboard can change very quickly, as we proved last year. We were flailing until the final night. Yes, we have won six of the 14 races so far, but we are not miles clear. Consistency, avoiding blowouts and picking up place points in every race is crucial.”

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