OVER Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon and champion jockey Richard Johnson were again the team to follow at Warwick on Thursday, landing the feature race for the second meeting running, writes David Hucker.
The combination had been in double-winning form at the previous week’s seasonal opener and they added to their tally when taking the £11,000 Colliers International Rating Division Handicap Chase over three miles with Ready Token, who had put plenty of daylight between himself and his rivals when winning over the course in May.
Raised 12lb in the weights for that win, Ready Token proved up to the task, making every yard of the running to see off his rivals, finishing five lengths clear of Follow The Swallow, who just held on to the runner-up spot from the staying-on Velator.
The success took Johnson to the 77 winner mark for the season and enabled Longsdon to close the gap on David Pipe at the top of the trainers table.
Limpley Stoke trainer Neil Mulholland is having a cracking season and Peter The Mayo Man made it win number 34 when comfortably taking the opening racinguk.com “National Hunt” Novices´ Hurdle by eight lengths from Irish point-to-point winner Accord.
He had also been entered in the later Ignite Incentives Handicap Hurdle, but Mulholland opted to go for this novice event instead and, after Noel Fehily had jumped Peter The Mayo Man past Accord at the penultimate flight, he quickly asserted to record his second success in this country.
Mulholland was looking to double up in the following Dafferns 1896 Maiden Hurdle with Fontwell Park bumper winner Admiral Kid, but he was up against a fancied rival in Wholestone, who had not been seen out since falling at Newcastle last November.
Admiral Kid was losing ground when coming down at the third-last flight and, after taking over the lead from Bugsie Malone early in the home straight, Wholestone, who was sent off the 8-11 favourite, atoned for his last race lapse with a ten-length win in the familiar green colours of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede,
After two winning favourites, bookmakers were hoping for some respite in the Lodders Solicitors Handicap Chase and they got it in the shape of 7-1 shot Foundation Man, who just got home by three-quarters of a length from King’s Song in the hands of conditional jockey Jack Savage.
The Ignite Incentives Handicap Hurdle looked like being a competitive affair, with Barman topping the weights. He was attempting to land a four-timer at Stratford last month, but could finish only third behind the useful Rossetti.
Trained by Nicky Henderson, who had his 30th winner of the season at Newton Abbot on Monday, Barman had been dropped 1lb in the ratings after that Stratford run and it proved enough, as he got back to winning ways, being driven out by Nico de Boinville to hold off the persistent challenge of Satanic Beat, whose cause wasn’t helped by an untidy jump at the final flight.
Eleven lined up for the concluding Racing UK Profits Returned To Racing Handicap Hurdle and it was Vivas who headed the betting to give the Longsdon/Johnson combination a double on the afternoon.
But, they had to settle for second spot, as bottom weight Wildmoor Boy, who had won at the 11th attempt at Stratford, made all the running to follow up under Jack Quinlan for Great Alne trainer Robin Dickin.