Le Cameleon pips Northern Bound in exciting finish to land feature race at Warwick
IN a thrilling finish, Le Cameleon held off the challenge of favourite Northern Bound to take the £17,000 Langley Handicap Chase (Class 3), feature race of Warwick's bonus meeting, transferred from Exeter, on Thursday, reports David Hucker.
Le Cameleon, a first winner of the season for Devon trainer Jane Williams, took over the running from Golden Taipan turning for home and ran on strongly in the hands of David Noonan to deny the persistent challenge of Bangor-on-Dee winner Northern Bound by a length, with Fat Sam back in third.
Sir Tivo was a red-hot favourite to take the opening Heathcote Novices' Hurdle over two miles, with Paddy Power having shortened him from 2-5 to 1-3 in the morning. He had spent the last two years chasing, winning seven times, including over the course, but returned after wind surgery to finish runner-up in a hurdle race at Uttoxeter last month.
Taken into the lead by Sean Bowen, he made every yard of the running, seeing off the challenge of second-favourite Decorated at the second-last flight, to come home an easy seven-length winner.
Two miles was also the trip for the Claverdon Mares' Maiden Hurdle and it produced the best finish of the afternoon with three horses jumping the last flight together.
Leader Maridadi had been joined by Dan Skelton's Notnowlinda turning into the straight, with even-money favourite Lutinebella right on their heels.
On the run to the line, it was Notnowlinda who just came out on top by a half a length from 18-1 shot Maridadi, with course bumper winner Lutinebella a further short head away in third. The three had pulled 10 lengths clear of the rest and all look to have a bright future.
In the absence of Kinondo Kwetu, just three lined up for the second Class 3 race of the day, the £15,000 Barford Novices' Limited Handicap Chase over three miles.
There was little between the trio for much of the race, but it was 4-1 outsider Trixster who had asserted by the middle of the back straight.
He came into the home straight still in the lead, but was joined at the final fence by top-weight Twig, who put in the better jump to go clear, although Trixster did close the gap to half a length at the line.
Opening Bid was always in the front two in the Hatton Handicap Hurdle over two miles, but had been joined by the smooth-travelling Gerard Mentor approaching the final flight.
Whilst Gerard Mentor proved the stronger on the run-in, passing the post one and a half lengths to the good, James Davies, the rider of Opening Bid, objected to the winner for crossing him on the run-in but, after a stewards' enquiry, the placings were allowed to stand.
Sheldon was all the rage in the closing Shrewley Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, having been backed with Paddy Power from 9-2 to 9-4 before racing, going off the clear 5-2 favourite.
The gamble looked to have paid off as he took over from long-time leader Cluain Aodha at the last, but he was re-passed by Cluain Aodha on the run-in, only for both of them to be collared close home by top-weight Guernesey, who got up by a short head.