TRAINER Ian Williams will be hoping Turanga Leela and Monjeni can maintain their fine early-season form at York on Friday – the opening card of a two-day meeting on the Knavesmire.
Turanga Leela has been declared for the feature EBF Breeders Series Fillies’ Handicap – a £30,000 contest for three-year-olds and upwards. The six-furlong race has attracted twelve runners.
The Williams-trained speedster won in good style by a length and a half at Chester at the end of May.
It was a second victory at that track for Turanga Leela, who is owned by Denise and Mark Sheasby of Eventmasters Racing – who also sponsor the closing apprentices’ handicap, in support of their hospitality business.
The British Horseracing Authority handicapper raised her 7lb for that latest victory and her latest assignment will be a first crack in a Class 2 handicap.
Williams said: “Turanga Leela loves Chester and probably saves her best for there but has certainly earned the right to run in this race – although it looks very competitive.
“This is by far a stiffer assignment but she merits an opportunity against these horses.
“George Wood (apprentice rider) takes a handy 3lb off. But on the face of it she was given quite a lump for her win at Chester. So, it does make it very challenging for her on Friday.”
Monjeni is one of eleven declared for the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Handicap staged over a mile and three-quarters.
He joined Williams for his four-year-old campaign and has proved a revelation thus far. The gelding has won three of this four starts from Williams’ Alvechurch stables, including last time out at Haydock in mid-May.
Williams added: “Monjeni has a very progressive profile and I was very impressed with the way he won at Haydock last time.
“Ultimately, the handicapper has had his say and it gets tougher. But being by Montjeu and out of a very good mare, this horse is bred to be good.
“So, it would be lovely for the breeder if Monjeni was able to make another step forward.
“He should enjoy the track and the ground and we are looking forward to seeing him perform.
“He will hopefully enjoy a truly-run race and a good long straight to get going in.”
Saturday showcases emerging sprint stars with £100,000 up for grabs in the Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Handicap.
On the same card, a field of high-class milers will line up for the £50,000 Best Western Hotels Ganton Stakes – a Listed–class race.
Friday’s seven-race card, demonstrates York’s wide ranging investment in prize money, being worth £115,000 in total. It gets underway at 1.50pm.