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London & The South and Wales & The West are neck and neck as Racing League continues at Windsor on Thursday, September 1, with a single point separating the two teams at the halfway stage.
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Following a flying start to the competition at Doncaster and Lingfield Park, London & The South saw its 71-point advantage all but disappear last week at Newcastle as they ended the night with the narrowest of leads on 428 points overall.
Sean Levey sat out night three but returns for London & The South with four rides as he bids to maintain his lead in the jockey standings.
Team manager Matt Chapman said: “It has been an absolutely fantastic effort from all my trainers to get two runners in each race, particularly as the forecast has changed dramatically since the entries stage.
“Aside from winning the whole thing, my biggest aim has always been to see Sean Levey crowned leading rider. He only has four rides on Thursday, as that enables us to keep him back for the remaining two meetings, but I think all of his mounts have every chance.”
All 13 representatives for Wales & The West collected points at Newcastle, a feat Jamie Osborne’s team is aiming to repeat this week with a full complement of runners.
Osborne said: “My trainers have been brilliant once again and we are putting out a fairly solid team across the seven races.
“I think the nursery is potentially our strongest race of the night, with Lost Angel and Safari Dream both coming in on the back of good runs in defeat. Generally, though, I feel every runner of ours is capable of scoring well.
“I have not had a chance to go through what Matt is doing with his team but our aim on Thursday is to end the night at the top of the table.”
Having been bottom of the standings after night one, The East is less than 100 points behind the leaders after strong showings at Lingfield Park and Newcastle.
Team manager Rupert Bell said: “Last week was frustrating in some respects because, although we had the two Charlie Fellowes’ winners and what was probably the ride of the competition so far from Kieran Shoemark, we did not score consistently well enough on the night.
“I have a sense of realism about this week. We are still within touching distance but we may find it tricky to make significant inroads as the lack of rain has scuppered some of our running plans, although I am delighted to have the Crisfords, Ed Dunlop and William Knight joining the Racing League party.
“I think the opening race could be a good one for us. Spring Bloom was so unlucky at Doncaster, while Robert Cowell had three entries in the race and was adamant that course winner Autumn Flight was the one, even though his form this year is not great.
“Overall, I expect the runners we have to be very competitive but I just feel the fact we don’t have the full 14 may make it difficult for us to really put pressure on the top two.”
Racing League standings after week three:
London & The South 428 points
Wales & The West 427
The East 332