Bumper crowd takes in first fixture of Warwick Racecourse's May Racing Carnival
A LARGE crowd descended on Warwick Racecourse for Kids Carnival Raceday on Monday, the first of four meetings that make up the May Racing Carnival, writes David Hucker.
The Poundland Family Fun Day Maiden Hurdle over three miles and a furlong got proceedings under way, and it saw an emphatic win for market leader Sporting Ace, who made all the running to beat Jean Genie by an easy five-and-a-half lengths.
Runner-up in an Irish point-to-point, Sporting Ace won a bumper at Chepstow in February on his third start under Rules and, according to jockey Jack Quinlan, will now have a break over the summer, returning for a winter campaign.
Quinlan also praised the work of the Warwick grounds team in producing good, safe ground, which he described as even a little soft down the back straight, an assessment borne out by the fact that, unlike the last meeting, there were no withdrawals because of unsuitable going.
There was another all-the way scorer in the following Tattersalls Ireland Store Sale 10th May Mares' "National Hunt" Maiden Hurdle as 7/4 favourite Prime Time Lady, who ran keenly in the hands of Alex Edwards, was always in command, running out an easy winner from Joyful Kit.
Unlike the first race winner, Prime Time Lady will be seen out again over the summer when she should win more races.
Although only five contested the Poundland, This Is Your Land Novices' Handicap Chase over two miles, there was not much to choose between them in the betting with Bempton Cliffs going off the 9/4 favourite to follow up his win at Market Rasen at the end of March.
Another one to make all the running, Bempton Cliffs had enough in hand to see off the challenge of chasing debutant Ragamuffin from the last fence to give jockey Alan Johns some compensation after the defeat of Jean Genie in the opener.
It fell to Castkitello to keep the winning run of favourites going in the fourth, the Poundland, Your Land Of Amazing Value TV Handicap Hurdle, but the writing was on the wall when Sam Twiston-Davies was pushing along as the runners passed the stands with a full circuit to go.
She did run on to finish fourth, but was no match for another clear winner in Nickelsonthedime who defied top weight to score at the 14th attempt over hurdles for Crewkerne trainer Kayley Woollacott.
Another to enjoy the good ground was Rockstar Ronnie in the Poundland, Where Great Prices Rule Handicap Chase.
Having tracker leader Ornua until the penultimate fence, he went to the front and, putting in a good jump at the last, saw off the challenge of Golden Taipan to score for trainer Dan Skelton who had won the race last year with Go Steady.
After the lead had changed several times, it was 16-1 shot Nye Bevan who took control of the Poundland, Proud Sponsors Of Warwick Races Handicap Hurdle turning for home and he quickly went into a clear lead.
He only had a length to spare over Eva's Diva at the line, but Tom Bellamy looked to have matters under control and he shouldn't go up too much in the weights for the win.
Having failed to win in 17 races on the flat and over jumps, it was no surprise that Persuer was priced at 20-1 for the concluding Poundland, Your Land Of Low Prices Mares' Handicap Hurdle, but she belied her odds to score by five lengths from Jersey Lady.