Robert Cowell is hoping team Newmarket Red can make a fast start when the Racing League gets underway on Thursday.
He joins fellow Suffolk-based trainers David Simcock, John and Thady Gosden and Sir Mark Prescott in a very strong-looking line-up for the ground-breaking new competition.
The Racing League, which pits teams of trainers and jockeys against each other for six weeks this summer, will see £50,000 worth of prize-money awarded in each race.
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“The concept was put to me in an email a couple of years ago and I half thought that this will never happen so never thought much about it again,” Cowell told Sky Sports Racing.
“I couldn’t really commit because I didn’t know much about it but the more information that came along, the more it was a no-brainer to get involved.
“I was luckily enough then to be approached by David Simcock to join Mr Gosden and Sir Mark Prescott. We’re in a good team.”
The concept of working together on raceday is largely unfamiliar for the trainers and team Newmarket Red will be led by Simcock after picking himself as racing manager.
Cowell joked: “I found it very frustrating and annoying that he picked himself! There was no panel selection. He’ll do a good job I’m sure.”
‘Lipsink thinks he’s faster than he is’
Cowell, known for his star sprinters, sends two hopefuls to Newcastle for the opening raceday, live on Sky Sports Racing, with Faustus and Lipsink representing team Newmarket Red in the opening two races over five and six furlongs, respectively.
Faustus arrives fresh from victory at Lingfield last month, while Lipsink is still looking for his first win since arriving from France last year.
“Faustus would have been running his next race in a 0-90 for probably around four-and-a-half to five thousand pounds, so it’s a no-brainer adding him to the list,” Cowell said.
“The owners are full of praise for the Racing League and had no issues with me putting him forward.
“He’s keeping his form quite nicely at the moment and handled the Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton when he ran and won so we go there with a horse in form.
“He got a great ride by William Buick [at Lingfield], just after his Irish Derby win so he was full of confidence.
“The ground conditions that day suited as he likes a little bit of give in the ground. I understand Newcastle is riding on the slow side so that should be just up his street.
“Lipsink has settled in well and had a couple of races for us pretty much straight away. It didn’t really go as I’d planned.
“He’s a very fast horse but probably thinks he’s faster than he is!
“In France they don’t go very quick and he pulled hard there. He looked like he was a five-furlong horse but he’s more like a six or six-and-a-half.
“He might just need the run but his handicap mark is slowly coming down to something quite feasible.”
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