Edwardstone gets off the mark over fences at third time of asking at Warwick Racecourse
EDWARDSTONE, unluckily brought down by the fall of For Pleasure on his previous visit to the course, got off the mark over fences at the third time of asking when comfortably landing the Class 3 Highflyer Bloodstock Novices' Chase at Warwick yesterday, Wednesday, writes David Hucker.
As he had done last time, For Pleasure set a good pace, but had to give way to Edwardstone and Stepney Causeway approaching the penultimate fence.
Useful juvenile hurdler Stepney Causeway, making his chasing debut, didn't jump the fence as well as his rival and, despite receiving 8lbs in weight, couldn't peg back Edwardstone who won by seven lengths.
Hartur D'Oudairies, a winner of his only race in France, was odds-on favourite to make a winning British debut for owner J P McManus and trainer Dan Skelton in the opening Olly Murphy Racing "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle over two miles.
Held up in midfield by Harry Skelton, he jumped past Sidewaysinmilan at the final flight and came away for an easy success, looking an exciting prospect for the future and earning a quote from Paddy Power of 33-1 for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Always prominent, Fontaine Collonges was passed by Precious Eleanor on the turn for home, but fought back to regain the lead on the run-in and land the Start Your RacingTV Free Trial Now Mares' Novices' Handicap Chase.
The two had been locked together going over the final fence, but Charlie Deutsch rallied Fontaine Collonges to good effect and she was two-and-three-quarter lengths ahead at the line.
Dan and Harry Skelton doubled up when West Balboa, runner-up in an Irish point-to-point, ran away with the Amy Towers Memorial Mares' Novices' Hurdle, putting 17 lengths between herself and odds-on favourite Queens River.
After Joyful Kit had taken the runners along to the penultimate flight, Skelton sent West Balboa into the lead and they quickly went clear to put the race to bed.
Getalead lived up his name, always being at the head of affairs in the Jumps At Home With Free Racing TV Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, and he just prevailed in a driving finish from top-weight Guernesey to give Devon trainer Claire Harris her second winner.
The most valuable race of the afternoon was the £30,000 John Sumner Memorial Veterans' Handicap Chase (Leg 10 Of The Veterans' Chase Series) over a trip of three miles, in which Potters Legend was seeking to repeat his win of last year from a 5lb higher mark.
He had every chance in the straight, but didn't have enough speed when it mattered and finished out of the frame behind Final Nudge, who beat Fagan and Head To The Stars, to provide Fergal O'Brien, the leading trainer numerically this season, with his 75th winner.