Stratford Racecourse's all-hunter chase day favours the bookies as market leaders fail to hit the target
LAW Of Gold, trained in Norfolk by David Kemp, was a convincing winner of the £20,000 Pertemps Network Stratford Foxhunters Champion Hunters' Chase, run for the Horse And Hound Cup, at Stratford on Friday evening, writes David Hucker.
A winner over the course and distance in 2019, Law Of Gold again showed his liking for Stratford when proving too strong for the favourite Bob And Co at the end of the three-and-a-half mile trip.
Leading at the penultimate fence, Law Of Gold went clear under jockey Dale Peters, with Monbeg Chit Chat running on past Adrien Du Pont, who had every chance but looked to find the trip too far, to take third.
There was a dramatic outcome to the opening PPSA Open Hunters' Chase over two miles and a furlong when first past the post Capitaine was disqualified when his jockey Sam Waley-Cohen weighed in 2lbs lighter than he had weighed out.
Once rated at 149 over fences when mixing it at Grade 1 level, Capitaine had rolled back the years to hold the challenge of Creative Inerta by a length, but the runner-up, ridden by Chloe Emsley, was awarded the race.
Next up was the Skinner's Ladies Open Point-To-Point Championship Final over two-and-three-quarter miles in which Virak, a winner of ten chases and five point-to-points, including at Cothelstone last time out, was made favourite to improve on his second place in the race in 2019.
After Barney Dwan had unseated Georgie Benson at the halfway stage, the race developed into a match between Virak and Deans Road, but the writing was on the wall for the favourite as they turned out of the back straight as Gina Andrews' mount was going much the better and Deans Road went clear on the run-in.
The trip was three-and-a-half miles for the Class 2 pointtopoint.co.uk Champion Novices' Hunters' Chase (For The John Corbet Cup) and Fumet D'oudairies, winner of four of his five point-to-points and an easy winner at Cheltenham last month, was the 6-4 clear favourite.
Bradley Gibbs saddled two in the race in the shape of Captain McGinley, an impressive 21-length winner from Definite Dilemma at Cheltenham, and Premier Magic, who was going for a five-timer, having won three point-to-points and a novices' hunter chase at Leicester.
Outsider Wick Green and Captain McGinley cut out much of the running but, as the runners set sail for the final jump, it was Irish raider Vaucelet who had grabbed the lead, followed by Fumet D'oudairies.
Much as the favourite tried, he couldn't close the gap and Ben Harvey drove Vaucelet out to a two-and-three-quarter length success.
Top-weight Alcala and Monsieur Gibraltar had turned for home locked in battle in the White Swan Hotel Handicap Hunters' Chase over two miles and five furlongs, with Clondaw Westie, sent off the 85-40 favourite, close behind.
The race took a dramatic turn at the final fence, however, as having looked to take control, Clondaw Westie dived out to his right, unseating Izzie Marshall, leaving the grey Keltus and Zamparelli to fight out the finish.
Gats And Co and Fiddler Of Dooney headed a close betting market for the Print Concern Supports The NHS "Restricted Point-To-Point" Novices' Hunters' Chase over two-and-three-quarter miles.
It was Gats And Co who looked the likely winner as he led over the final fence, but he was run out of it by The Bonny Boy and Tekap, who had fought out a close finish at Kingston Blount last time, with just a neck separating them at the line.
Outsider Fountains Chief made all the running to take the closing Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Champion "Point-To-Point" Bumper from 8-15 favourite Latenightfumble to complete a night that favoured the bookmakers with all seven market leaders failing to hit the target.