AINTREE My Dream, having his first run for Warminster trainer Milton Harris, wore down long-time leader Western Miller after the last fence to land the feature race at the Inspire Racing Club Race Day at Stratford on Sunday, writes David Hucker.
Formerly trained by Dan Skelton, for whom he won four races, Aintree My Dream had to bounce back after a couple of disappointing runs in the Class Three Inspire Racing Members Day ‘Confined’ Handicap Chase over two-and-a-half miles, but he was always travelling comfortably in behind course winner Western Miller and, when jockey Kevin Jones asked him to go and win the race, he responded well up the run-in to score by three and three-quarter lengths.
“They travel and go quick here and you need to jump to win” said Harris, who was welcoming back his sixth winner of the season.
“He’s a nice horse and I am delighted for the owner who has been very loyal to me.”
Aidan Coleman replaced injured champion jockey Richard Johnson on Minella Bobo in the opening Novices’ Hurdle over two-and-three-quarter miles and he was sent off the odds-on favourite just ahead of Skelton’s Ferrobin in the betting market.
For Skelton, it had been a good week leading up to the meeting with ten winners taking him to 192 for the season as he looks to become the first trainer to reach a double-century since Martin Pipe in 2001-02.
Ferrobin didn’t get any further than the second flight, however, bringing down Thenightisyoung as he fell, leaving the way clear for Minella Bobo to record an easy win, beating Mac Amara by 18 lengths.
Lerichi Belle pulled herself to the head of the field in the following Novices’ Handicap Chase with jockey Edward Austin doing his best to get her to settle.
Her exertions took their toll and she was a spent force by the time Shininstar jumped past her at the second last fence, going clear and holding the late challenge of Magic River after the last.
Owned by Belinda Clarke, assistant to trainer John Groucott, Shininstar was winning for the second time at the age of ten, having got off the mark at Ludlow in December under regular amateur jockey Lorna Brooke.
A graduate of the pony racing circuit, Charlie Todd had ridden his first winner over jumps at the 61st attempt at Warwick four weeks ago, and after riding another winner in a hunter chase at Kelso, he made it three for the season when Boher Lad, backed from 5-1 to 7-2, led at the penultimate flight and came home an easy winner of the long-distance hurdle race.
It proved to be a finish of the veterans with the 12-year-old winner beating the year older Red Admirable, who was retired after the race, by four lengths.
Skelton was hoping for better luck with his second runner of the afternoon with Ratoute Yutty in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, but she proved no match for Legends Gold, who led coming off the home turn to make it a double for Aidan Coleman and trainer Rebecca Curtis after their first race success.
There were 20 fences to jump in the day’s longest race run over a trip of almost three miles and five furlongs and Midnight Mustang, owned and trained by Andrew Martin at Chipping Norton, led over 19 of them, but was passed approaching the final jump by Day Of Roses, who quickly went clear to record a six-length win in the hands of Nick Scholfield.
Although restricted to horses that had not won more than four chases, there were some prolific point-to-point winners in the closing Inspire Exclusive Racing Club ‘Grassroots’ Hunter’ Chase over two-and-three-quarter miles and it turned out to be the best race of the afternoon.
Odds-on favourite Arthur’s Secret and recent Warwick winner Risk A Fine duelled for the lead from the off, with last year’s winner Abricot De L’Oasis and Master Baker tracking the front two.
With Arthur’s Secret giving way down the back straight, Risk A Fine continued to keep up the gallop for former champion amateur James King and, although Master Baker tried to lay down a challenge going to the last, he ran out a worthy winner.