Do Your Job takes victory after dramatic feature race at Warwick Racecourse sees three fail to finish
IT was a day of high drama at Warwick on Friday and, with three of the runners failing to finish, it was Do Your Job who landed the feature Class 3 Jewson Stan Mellor Memorial Novices' Steeple Chase for trainer Michael Scudamore and jockey Brendan Powell, writes David Hucker.
Last year's inaugural running of the race saw the chasing debut of the high-class Allmankind, but there was to be no repeat for his trainer Dan Skelton as the lightly-raced King Rowland was pulled up before halfway.
Up front, For Pleasure was taking the remaining four runners along tracked by favourite Edwardstone, but it was all to change at the fourth-last fence.
Here, For Pleasure fell, bringing down Edwardstone, leaving Do Your Job in front and, although Olly Murphy's Nickolson tried to bridge the gap, there was still one-and-a-half lengths between them at the line.
The Jewson Leamington, Rugby Road Juvenile Hurdle, won last year by the smart Adagio, got the afternoon under way and it went to Dan Skelton's In This World, who raced past pacesetting Graystone approaching the final flight to win impressively.
Winner of a French bumper, the form had been franked when the runner-up won over hurdles in Ireland the week before, and he is now 12-1 from 20-1 with Paddy Power for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham next March.
Next up was the Franco "Firework" Esposito Is 40 Novices' Hurdle in which Irish bumper winner Complete Unknown, now with champion trainer Paul Nicholls, headed the market at 2-1.
Skelton saddled the once-raced River Legend, but it was Blue Stello, runner-up in his only point-to-point, who was second-best in the betting.
Unanswered Prayers, the only previous winner in the race, led the field over the final obstacle from Complete Unknown and Blue Stello, but wandered on the run-in allowing Blue Stello to close the gap and, after a lengthy deliberation whilst the judge studied the photo of the two, Unanswered Prayers was deemed to have hung on by the minimum margin of a nose.
That wasn't the end, however, as, after a stewards' enquiry, the placings of the first two were reversed with Blue Stello, for whom trainer Nicky Henderson is already looking forward to next year, declared the winner.
The Scudamore name was to the fore again in the Jewson Leamington Spa, Old Warwick Road Handicap Hurdle when Opening Bid and jockey Tom Scudamore gave a lot of weight and a beating to the two juvenile runners Nazwa and the front-running Fred Bear.
There could be more to come as Scudamore said the winner would be suited to a more galloping track than Warwick and Newton Abbot, the scene of his earlier win.
Despite mistakes at the third-last and penultimate fences, Head On and Charlie Todd got back to winning ways when defeating favourite The Newest One in the longest race of the afternoon, the Jewson Stratford-Upon-Avon Handicap Chase over three-and-a-quarter miles.
There was another chase to follow, this time over the shorter trip of two-and-a-half miles and restricted to conditional jockeys. It went to the four-year-old Hamilton Dici, a course winner over hurdles, who was given a fine introduction to chasing by Chester Williams.
The well-fancied Bridal Knot was withdrawn at the start of the concluding Jewson Rugby British EBF Mares' Open National Hunt Flat Race, but the race itself proved pretty straightforward for Game On For Glory, having her first run after wind surgery, who took up the running under Bryony Frost turning for home to beat Lutinebella, runner-up for the second race running at the course.
Racing returns to the course on Wednesday, 17th November with the first race due off at noon.