JAMIE Moore is fast becoming the jockey to follow at Warwick, as he landed a winner for the third meeting running when Incentivise scored at last Sunday’s Horse & Hound Warwickshire Air Ambulance Raceday, writes David Hucker.
With seven horses failing to finish, the £12,000 Whites – Free Skips For Metal Handicap Chase proved tough going for runners and riders alike. James Banks sent Krackatoa King to the front seven fences from home, but they had nothing left to give when Incentivise came to challenge approaching the second last.
Kerry Lee’s veteran hadn’t run since finishing second here to Paddy The Oscar on New Year’s Eve, but he stayed on strongly to deny the running-on Grove Silver in a tight finish where, after three miles and five furlongs, just a length covered the first three home.
Welsh trainer Evan Williams had chosen Nansaroy from his three entries in the opening Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance Novices´ Hurdle and he opened up at odds-on to make amends for unseating his rider at Haydock Park last time.
But, he drifted in the market approaching the off as sustained support for the ex-French Belami Des Pictons, who was bought for 120,000 euros after winning at Vichy in October, saw him go off favourite to make a winning British debut for trainer Venetia Williams.
He duly landed the gamble, but had to work hard to get past Viva Rafa, who was given an enterprising ride from the front by Ian Popham and only gave way in the final half a furlong.
Trainer Anthony Honeyball saddled two runners in the following EBF/TBA Mares´ Novices´ Limited Handicap Chase in the shape of joint top-weight Cresswell Breeze and Rouquine Sauvage.
Punters were in no doubt as to which held the better chance with Cresswell Breeze, second to Fourth Act at Wincanton last time, a well-backed 2-1 favourite to go one better from a 1lb lower handicap mark.
However, the writing was on the wall for her supporters as Aidan Coleman was hard at work halfway down the back straight and it was Centasia, having her first run for trainer Neil Mulholland, who led the field turning for home. The gap closed over the last two fences but, much as Cresswell Breeze tried, she couldn’t get to the front and Centasia held on by a diminishing neck under Denis O’Regan.
Conditional jockey Harry Cobden is making his mark this season since joining champion trainer Paul Nicholls and he brought up his 18th win of the campaign when top-weight Church Field took the Whites – Best Buyers For Copper And Brass Standards Handicap Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs.
Leading at the penultimate flight, Church Field drew right away from his rivals on the flat for a six length success from Join The Navy, who found little when asked to go and challenge by Kieron Edgar.
There was another gamble in the Colin E Mander Bricklayers 75th Birthday Conditional Jockeys´ Handicap Hurdle when Same Ole Trix was backed from 7-1 into 9-2, but he departed early, unseating Mickey Hamill at the third flight. The race went to Midtech Valentine, who gave Toby Wheeler his third winner at the course from just nine rides when proving too strong for Norse Light.
The biggest field of the afternoon lined up the concluding Children’s Air Ambulance Air Wedding Open Hunters´ Chase, but there was only one horse in it at the finish as Nowurhurlin turned into the home straight in splendid isolation, maintaining his advantage to the line to finish 12 lengths ahead of the staying-on Lord Heathfield.
There is more racing at the course next Wednesday (23rd) when the seven-race card gets underway at 2.10pm and gates will open two hours before.