WITH the track passing an early morning inspection, Warwick’s Fabulous Fiver Friday beat the inclement weather and it was the well-backed Springtown Lake who landed the feature £30,000 Feldon Dunsmore Budbrooke Handicap Chase in great style for trainer Philip Hobbs and jockey Tom O’Brien, writes David Hucker.
In a race run at a fierce gallop, Shannon Bridge was the one to catch down the back straight, but it all changed at the second-last fence as Springtown Lake, a market mover with Paddy Power in the morning, jumped to the front and soon put the race to bed, coming home 20 lengths to the good from The Bay Birch, with Beau Bay back in third.
With the final hurdle omitted because of the wet ground, there was just one obstacle to jump in the home straight in the opening British Stallion Studs EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier), but the race was all over by then as Lieutenant Rocco, who had disputed the lead with Toad from the off, pulled clear of his six rivals to win in the style of a good horse.
Successful on heavy ground on his debut at Chepstow, Lieutenant Rocco, who had drifted in the betting as morning market support for Stick With Bill continued on track, looks a chaser in the making and his big white face will always see him stand out in running.
Before that, however, trainer Colin Tizzard is eyeing another run over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival.
Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson had two entries in the Racing Post Juvenile Hurdle, opting to run dual winner Grand Roi, who went off the red-hot favourite.
Always in the lead, he came clear of the rest turning into the home straight and had 13 lengths in hand of the useful Manucci, who overcame Scorched Earth close to the line.
There was early market support for Little Ginge in the racingtv.com/Freetrial Novices’ Handicap Chase, with the Venetia Williams trained runner fancied to make a successful winning debut over fences.
His jumping was far from fluent as the visored Ballyart set a cracking pace up front and he was pulled up down the back straight.
Four came to the last fence with a chance, but Go Steady, on whom Harry Skelton had ridden a patient race, jumped to the front and came away to win comfortably from Glorious Boru.
Sandown’s loss was Warwick’s gain, as the the £25,000 Jumping For Joy On Racing TV Jane Seymour Mare’s Novices’ Hurdle was saved after the abandonment of last week’s card at the Esher track and, in another race run at a fast pace in the testing conditions, it was 7-4 favourite Emmas Joy who prevailed to make it a quick-fire double for Harry Skelton and trainer brother Dan.
The longest race of the afternoon was the Shipstone Family Celebration Hands And Heels Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys & Amateurs) over three-and-a-quarter miles and, for much of the contest, there were just two in it with Hang Tough and Sergeant Brody clear of the rest.
Although My Lady Grey came to pass a tiring Sergeant Brody approaching the final flight, she couldn’t reel in Hang Tough, who lived up to his name under Bryan Carver to land an across-the-card double for trainer Jonjo O’Neill, successful with Ashfield Paddy at Exeter 15 minutes earlier.
In the absence of No No Juliet, just four lined up for the Watch Irish Racing On Racingtv Mares’ Handicap Chase and it went to Midnight Tune, who ran and jumped her rivals into submission under a bold front-running ride from Aidan Coleman for trainer Anthony Honeyball, who was another in double-winning form after Kilconny Bridge had won at Exeter earlier in the afternoon.
Ballycallan Fame was well-supported to take the closing National Hunt Flat Race but, after leading to the home turn, she faded tamely as Nada To Prada, who cost £65,000 after winning her only point-to-point in Ireland, strode to the front under Brendan Powell to beat Step To The Top, the two coming close together near the line.