Bumper crowd roars as Grand Turina wins highlight race of Warwick's Poundland New Year's Eve Raceday
THE sun shone on a sell-out crowd at Warwick's Poundland New Year's Eve Raceday and a big roar greeted Grand Turina as she followed up her Lingfield win in the most valuable race of the afternoon, the £11,400 Poundland – The Land That Gives You More Conditional Jockeys' Veterans' Handicap Chase, writes David Hucker.
The grey Lickpenny Larry made a valiant attempt to lead all the way, but was a spent force as he came to the final fence, where 11-8 favourite Grand Turina and Ned Fox jumped to the front, staying on stoutly over the three-mile trip to beat top-weight Militarian by 11 lengths.
After persistent rain in the days leading up to the meeting, the going was described as heavy for the seven-race card and there was a turn-up in the opening Poundland – This Is Your Land Novices' Handicap Hurdle over two miles and three furlongs when 18-1 shot Shutthegate, brought to the stands side by Jamie Moore approaching the final jump, saw off 33-1 outsider Doireann, with the fancied Pottlerath back in third.
All three flights down the back straight were omitted because of the low sun in the two subsequent hurdle races and, as a result, there were just five obstacles to jump in the Poundland Foundation British Stallion Studs EBF Mares' "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle over the longer trip of two miles and five furlongs.
In the absence of Marsh Wren, it was Leicester winner Love Envoi who went off a clear 6-4 favourite ahead of Dan Skelton's Gentle Connections and, after jumping to the front at the penultimate flight, Love Envoi strode clear for an easy success.
The stands rail was again the place to be in the longest race of the afternoon, the Poundland – Where Great Prices Rule Handicap Hurdle over three-and-a-quarter miles, as In Rem overcame a 13lb hike in the weights to complete a four-timer for Jane and Chester Williams, denying Bean In Trouble close home.
The low sun also affected the first of the chases, the Poundland – Your Land Of Amazing Value Handicap Chase over two-and-a-half miles, in which Neil The Legend led the runners over the remaining seven obstacles, tracked by course winner Hamilton Dici and top-weight Somekindofstar.
He was to make every yard of the running, as Nico de Boinville stretched his lead in the home straight when both Hamilton Dici and Somekindofstar faded, beating Allardyce by 15 lengths, with Molly Carew back in third.
Twelve set out for the Poundland – Proud To Support Warwick Racecourse Handicap Chase over two miles and all bar two were still in contention as the runners streamed over the five fences in the back straight.
The race changed dramatically, however, as they turned for home, when James Best sent Templier into a clear lead and the rest couldn't peg him back, being 15 lengths to the good over Folly Gate at the line.
For Best, this was his sixth win since the middle of the month and 27th in all in what is already his best season so far.
In the absence of Hubble and Steal My Sunshine, nine went to post in the closing Happy New Year From Poundland Open National Hunt Flat Race, of which just three had seen a racecourse before.
It was Lindaka, a faller on his only start in an Irish point-to-point, who headed the betting, just in front of the Alan King-trained newcomer Technology, running here rather than at Exeter on New Year's Day.
Neither was to feature in the finish, however, as 17-2 shot Filanderer, trained by Hughie Morrison and another declared to run here rather than at Exeter, beat Samourai One by one-and-a-quarter lengths, with King's Threshold well-beaten in third, to bring up a double on the afternoon for jockey Jonathan Burke.