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Trainer To Watch for 2018/19
Former point-to-point rider Alastair Ralph, who rode a hunter chase-winner in May 2008, saddled a few runners in hunter chases between 2012 and 2015, winning with his first runner - Fresh Air And Fun at Ludlow in February 2012 - before attempting to take his training career to the next level, and initial results suggest that it could be a good move.
Having learnt the ropes with Michael Scudamore, Paul Nicholls, Dr Richard Newland and Henry Daly, Ralph took out a full licence in 2015 and he's posted a reasonable strike rate, 23 wins from 131 runners (17.6%) since saddling his first runner in February 2016.
That rate has increased since the start of the 2017/18 season, with a 20% strike rate from then till the end of August 2018.
Handicap chaser Cut The Corner, formerly trained by Newland, is the best horse in Ralph's stable. He's had 15 runs for the yard, winning four, including a Class 2 event at Stratford in June 2018 off a rating of 137.
Hopes must be high that novice chaser Gustave Mahler, rated 130 at the time of writing, will turn into a better horse than he presently is, having won three times over hurdles, but yet to score over fences when this piece was written.
There'll be more to come from Billingsley, a lightly-raced six year-old named after the area of Shropshire where Ralph's stable is located, who won two novice hurdles at Chepstow, in February and April, and is officially rated 124. While he'll be taking in handicaps no doubt, one with potential in novice events over timber is Daario Naharis, who was a promising third in a Huntingdon bumper in May.
Alastair Ralph is very much an up-and-coming trainer who's likely to be in for a good season in 2018/19.
Visit Alastair Ralph's website at www.alastairralphracing.co.uk
Alastair's on Twitter at @trainingwinners
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