Sporting Boy makes most of soft ground to land Stratford’s feature race

Sporting Boy and Nick Scholfield return after springing a 25-1 surprise in Stratford’s feature race in the familiar colours of owner Wayne Clifford. Photo: David Hucker


THE rain came to soften the ground at Stratford on Monday and one horse who relished the conditions was 25-1 shot Sporting Boy, who made all the running with Nick Scholfield to land the feature race for Somerset trainer Johnny Farrelly, writes David Hucker.

Former racecourse employee Abi Stock is riding in a charity race at York on Saturday, raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of her father who died from pancreatic cancer last year.

The race was named to publicise her fundraising efforts and 11 year-old Sporting Boy made every yard of the running to record his first win since October 2017.

“He appreciated the ground and the step up in trip,” said winning trainer Farrelly.

“He enjoyed himself in front and we will keep him going until he tells us he has had enough.”

Santani with winning trainer Tom Symonds and jockey Ben Poste after landing the opening race. Photo: David Hucker

Odds-on favourite Santani had no trouble in landing the opening Watch Racing TV Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and a furlong.

Tracking leader Royal Road to the third-last flight, he jumped to the front with Ben Poste and steadily went clear to beat Twist by ten lengths.

Formerly trained in France, Santani was a winner at Ludlow in April on his first run for Tom Symonds, but had finished runner-up in two races since. He bounced back to winning form here, much to the delight of his trainer.

“He’s a lovely horse to deal with and did that well,” said Symonds.

“He will need a break at some point, but is still a maiden on the flat which is attractive to me.”

There was a field of twelve for the Novices’ Handicap Chase with joint top weight Game Line attracting plenty of support in the betting market, going off as co-favourite with Billy Hicks and Boutan at 5-1.

Billy Hicks was always on the front end, but Game Line started to close until a bad mistake at the third-last fence put paid to his chances.

It was Camaplu who then emerged from the pack to chase the leader and was close up when not rising high enough at the final jump, crumpling on landing, leaving the way clear for Billy Hicks and David England to post a 13-length victory.

Supporters of Boutan never looked like collecting, with Grace Harris’s runner always nearer last than first.

Hurricane Rita had scored impressively at Southwell last week, benefiting from wind surgery, and she made it a quick double with Adrian Heskin in the Follow @racingtv On Twitter Handicap Chase, jumping alongside leader Foxy Lass at the fourth-last obstacle and going clear from the penultimate fence to score convincingly from Khairagash, who was left in second place when Auld Sod fell at the last.

Top-weight Bobble Emerald set the pace with Harry Stock in the Every Race Live On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle, but he was a sitting duck as the runners jumped the penultimate flight, with joint-favourites Lookingforarainbow and Jane Lamb waiting to pounce.

The two approached the final flight together and, although coming close on the run-in, it was Lookingforarainbow who asserted with Aidan Coleman.

For Jane Lamb, this was her fifth attempt to win a race since joining trainer Dan Skelton and, on this evidence, her turn will surely come over the summer.

After course regular Deise Vu had cut out the early running, Irish raider Pretty Little Liar was brought with a perfectly-timed run by Killian Moore to jump past Billy My Boy at the last and land the concluding Like Racing TV On Facebook Handicap Hurdle, with Global Tour, who was seeking a four-timer, back in third.