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Nigel Twiston-Davies and Nick Scholfield celebrate Stratford double



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IT was an afternoon of close finishes in the autumn sunshine at Stratford on Saturday with doubles for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and jockey Nick Scholfield highlights of the seven-race card, writes David Hucker.

Ballintubber Boy, left, and Harde Fashion jump the last flight together in the opening race. Photo: Steve Davies / sdphotos.co.uk
Ballintubber Boy, left, and Harde Fashion jump the last flight together in the opening race. Photo: Steve Davies / sdphotos.co.uk

After two-and-three-quarter miles, there was just a head between the first two in the opening Jo Huxtable 50th Birthday Celebration 'National Hunt' Maiden Hurdle with Ballintubber Boy, making his jumping debut, overhauling Harde Fashion close home.

Harde Fashion had disputed the lead from the off and held a clear advantage turning for home, but he was worn down by the winner, who was stepping up from his first run in a Warwick bumper in May.

Disappointment of the race was Alcester trainer Dan Skelton's newcomer Turnaway, sent off the 9-4 favourite, who was struggling to stay with the pack from halfway and finished tailed off.

Judge Emily Jones needed the photo finish camera again to decide the outcome of the second race, the William Hill Pick Your Places Handicap Hurdle, in which Kilchreest Moon made virtually all the running to hold on by a head and deny Alramz.

Kilchreest Moon, right, beats Alramz in the William Hill Pick Your Places Handicap Hurdle to make it a double for jockey Nick Scholfield. Photo: Steve Davies / sdphotos.co.uk
Kilchreest Moon, right, beats Alramz in the William Hill Pick Your Places Handicap Hurdle to make it a double for jockey Nick Scholfield. Photo: Steve Davies / sdphotos.co.uk

Kilchreest Moon completed a quick double for jockey Scholfield, who proved too strong for Lucy Gardner on the runner-up in the finish, and provided Worcestershire trainer Henry Oliver with his fifth win of the season.

In the absence of both likely favourite Humaniste and Splinter, it was Al Kherb, runner-up to Orchard Grove in a handicap for amateur riders here in August, who headed the betting market in a reduced field of five for the Gary Hill Stag Do Selling Hurdle.

Punters who had taken the odds of 4-9 about the favourite wouldn't have been too happy when Aidan Coleman had to shake him up at the penultimate flight, but he got there in the end, wearing down Fort De L'Ocean from the last to win by one-and-a-half lengths.

Although not an impressive winner, it still took a bid of £7,500 from connections to retain the winner at the post-race auction.

Jockey Zac Baker and connections of One Forty Seven, winner of the Paul Sheldon 75th Birthday Celebration Handicap Chase. Photo: Steve Davies / sdphotos.co.uk
Jockey Zac Baker and connections of One Forty Seven, winner of the Paul Sheldon 75th Birthday Celebration Handicap Chase. Photo: Steve Davies / sdphotos.co.uk

Most valuable race of the afternoon was the fourth, the Paul Sheldon 75th Birthday Celebration Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs, and it resulted in another exciting finish to get the large Stratford crowd cheering as top weight One Forty Seven and Zac Baker proved best in a three-way tussle.

Makka Pakka had jumped the final fence with what looked to be a winning lead, but he tied up on the run-in as both One Forty Seven and Romanor challenged, with the former proving the stronger to give trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies a double after the success of Ballintubber Boy in the opener.

Whispering Gypsy set a strong pace in the Beryl's Birthday Bash Mares' Handicap Hurdle, but was a spent force by the penultimate flight where Maria Magdalena took the lead.

She had the progressive Pillar Of Steel, successful four times already this season, for company and, all out, it was Pillar of Steel and Jamie Moore who struck again, holding off the fast-finishing Triple Nickle with Maria Magdalena back in third.

Pillar of Steel takes the Beryl's Birthday Bash Mares' Handicap Hurdle to record her fifth win of the season with jockey Jamie Moore. Photo: Steve Davies / sdphotos.co.uk
Pillar of Steel takes the Beryl's Birthday Bash Mares' Handicap Hurdle to record her fifth win of the season with jockey Jamie Moore. Photo: Steve Davies / sdphotos.co.uk

Just two horses ever got into contention in the Philip Smith Handicap Chase over two and three-quarter miles and it was Rebel Leader who saw off the challenge of Orchestrated by two-and-a half lengths in a race where only half of the ten starters completed the course.

Tabitha Worsley and Amelia's Dance comfortably took the closing Jackie Bates Female Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle from Hey Bob and Genever Dragon to give Dorset trainer Robert Walford his third winner of the season from just nine runners.



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