Bumper Ladies Night crowd sees Saint Riquier seal impressive feature race victory at Warwick Racecourse
THERE was another big crowd at Warwick on Saturday for Ladies Night and they saw an impressive victory by Saint Riquier in the feature £20,000 Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Handicap Hurdle, writes David Hucker.
Run over a trip of two miles and three furlongs, it was the Paul Nicholls-trained Irish Hill who was sent off the even-money favourite, having run here rather than in the more valuable Pertemps Network Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park in the afternoon.
He could never land a blow, however, as Saint Riquier, fifth in a Grade 1 race at Aintree last time, led into the home straight and fairly bolted up by six lengths to give jockey Charlie Todd his first winner since losing his claim.
It had all got under way with the Professor John Robert Fyfe Bolton OBE Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and three furlongs in which trainer Dan Skelton ran course winner Jeffery’s Cross from his three entries.
Also entered in the feature race here and at Hexham in the afternoon, this looked a good call by Skelton as Jeffery’s Cross had just three rivals to beat and the 8/13 favourite passed the post first, a neck in front of Mourzouk.
However, he had ducked to his right after jumping the final flight and, after a lengthy stewards inquiry, the race was awarded to Mourzouk, much to the dismay of favourite backers.
The Plimsoll Line was another hot favourite in the following Watch Irish Racing On Racing TV “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle as he looked to build on his good run at Newbury last time.
There was to be no drama this time, as Rex Dingle kept him well away from Hermes Le Gris, who had led into the straight, coming home three-and-a-quarter lengths clear.
A winner over the course last time, Ashoka was looking to complete a hat-trick in the John Temple Memorial Handicap Hurdle.
Held up by Jack Andrews, he came to challenge Kazontherazz over the final two flights and was eased into the lead after jumping the last, winning cosily by half a length.
Just five set out in the South West Syndicate Mares’ Novices’ Chase and three were closely matched on official ratings with just a 4lb difference between them.
Top-rated was Could Be Trouble, runner-up in her last two hurdle races and, under a good ride from Theo Gillard, made a winning chase debut, collaring Fortunes Melody, who had already run six times over fences, on the run-in.
Disappointment of the race was Kilmington Rose, who was pulled up by Lorcan Williams after making a bad mistake, but the surprise package was outsider Well Briefed, who had jumped the last fence alongside her two more fancied rivals and ran by far her best race so far under Rules.
Champion conditional jockey Kevin Brogan is in sparkling form, riding his fourth winner in three days when the veteran High Counsel wore down Lord Sparky on the run-in to land the Racing TV Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase.
Lord Sparky had been at or near the front for most of the three-mile trip and looked like giving Jack Andrews a double on the night, but High Counsel, three times a winner over the course before, would not be denied in a stirring finish.
The concluding racingtv.com Open National Hunt Flat Race saw another impressive performance, this time by the Olly Murphy-trained Strong Leader, who came right away from his rivals in the last furlong. Running on for third was Clapton Hill, who had been in the rear for most of the race, but made eye-catching progress late on.