TRAINER Alan King and jockey Wayne Hutchinson continued their excellent start to the new jumps season when Potterman ran out a comfortable winner of Warwick’s feature Qatar Airways Handicap Hurdle at a lively Ladies Night on Saturday, writes David Hucker.
Although top-weight Sternrubin turned for home with plenty of petrol left in the tank, he was joined by Potterman at the final flight and King’s runner quickly asserted to finish five lengths to the good at the line, with Comrade Conrad a further 14 lengths back in third, having never got into contention.
King has also been sending out plenty of runners on the flat and, in his post-race interview, made mention of Who Dares Wins, runner-up in Wednesday’s Sportpesa Chester Cup, who could be going novice chasing seeking to add to his eight wins so far.
Jockey Harry Skelton made the journey down the M6 after riding at Haydock Park’s afternoon meeting to partner Bbold for his brother Dan in the opening Rybrook BMW Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and three furlongs. Bbold was well-supported in the betting, shortening to 15-8 before the off, and it looked as if his supporters were going to collect when he put in some good jumps down the back straight.
But, Versatility was tracking him as they turned for home and, after jumping past Bbold at the final flight, he came right away under Jeremiah McGrath to post a quick double for trainer Nicky Henderson, who had been on the mark with Brave Eagle at Haydock five minutes earlier.
Another trainer to notch a quick double was Jamie Snowden, whose Shantewe took the concluding race at Hexham before odds-on Thebannerkingrebel sauntered home in the McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle with jockey Gavin Sheehan able to ease his mount down on the run-in as Gateway To Europe could make no impression from the final flight.
Champion jockey Richard Johnson took a tumble as Some Boy McCoy jumped the last flight awkwardly and forfeited his remaining rides, starting with Victarion in the following Join Racing TV Now Handicap Hurdle.
The popular favourite here was Blairs Cove, a winner over over fences at the last meeting, and he did it again, with Harry Skelton sitting motionless as the combination had too much speed for Victarion, who just saw off Supakalanistic for second place.
Although just five runners set off for the Ardencote Destination Spa Mares’ Novices’ Chase, it was run at a good pace set by Poppy Kay, with David England standing in for Johnson this time, and Vivant.
It was Poppy Kay who went on down the back straight, but her jumping started to falter and she dropped back, being pulled up between the last two fences.
Up front, Kentford Heiress had established herself at the head of affairs and she shook off the attentions of Grageelagh Girl to make it five wins in the last 14 days for trainer Seamus Mullins.
The Boola Bee was given a patient ride by Tom Buckley in the long-distance Agetur UK Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase but, once she hit the front going to the second-last fence, the race was all over bar the shouting and she put plenty of daylight between herself and her pursuers headed by Definately Vinnie and Culm Counsellor.
Make a note of Phoenix Rock, having just her third run over fences, who was bang in contention when sending Connor Brace into orbit with a mistake at the third-last fence.
The runners were tightly packed as they came into the straight for the concluding National Hunt Flat Race and it was 25-1 outsider Trincomalee who came out on top, getting up to beat £135,000 purchase Killer Clown, who dived to his left close to the line when looking the likely winner.
The third leg of the Qatar May Racing Carnival is on Wednesday, 22nd May with Proudly Warwick Raceday, when the first race is due off at 2.20pm.