Hang In There a class act in feature Class 2 Happy 18th Birthday Jamie Brister Handicap Hurdle at Stratford Racecourse
IN front of a packed Stratford crowd, course winner Hang In There gave weight to all his rivals in the feature Class 2 Happy 18th Birthday Jamie Brister Handicap Hurdle on Saturday, making all the running in the hands of Joe Anderson for a deserved success, writes David Hucker.
Runner-up in the Class 2 Betway Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen last time, Hang In There was sent off a hot favourite to beat his three rivals and, although course regular Jamacho, winner of the race last year, and Torcello joined him on the turn for home, they found him a hard horse to pass and he proved too good on the run to the line.
There was an upset in the opening Class 3 National Racehorse Week 12th-19th September Novices' Hurdle over two miles and half a furlong when Camprond, a winner at Market Rasen and fourth in the Summer Hurdle there last time, was beaten by Percy's Word, who followed up his success here 12 days ago.
Sent off the 2-5 favourite, Camprond set out to make all the running, but Harry Skelton stalked him on the inside on Percy's Word and, having waited to mount his challenge until the run-in, proved the stronger close home to win by half a length.
The Pardy's Dairies Novices' Chase looked a match between impressive course winner Presentandcounting, ridden by Brian Hughes and already a winner of four chases this season, and Hooper, a course winner over hurdles but making his chasing debut.
They raced in that order until the penultimate fence when Hooper took up the running but, with the race seemingly in safe keeping, he unseated Ben Ffrench-Davis at the last, leaving Presentandcounting to beat the other two runners by a wide margin.
Bagan's last two runs had been over the Stratford fences, but he made no mistake when returning to hurdles, coming from last to first to land the Retraining Of Racehorses Conditional Jockeys' Selling Handicap Hurdle.
Princess Ruby and Stage Power had come to jump the final flight together, but there was danger on the outside in the shape of Bagan, brought with a well-timed run by Jason Dixon go past the pair and win going away. He was sold at the post-race auction for 11,250 guineas.
Locally-trained Franz Klammer made a valiant attempt to land a course four-timer in the Keogh & Hows Handicap Chase, but a mistake at the second-last fence put paid to his chances as it handed the advantage to Rhythm Is A Dancer, who followed up his win here in June for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden.
Course winner Romanor had two entries at the meeting, but trainer Seamus Mullins had chosen the shorter NAF Racing Handicap Chase over two miles and one furlong and it looked the right decision as Romanor took over from Larch Hill going out out on the second circuit.
He set up a clear lead, but Larch Hill came back at him on the turn for home to score at the first time of asking for trainers Charles and Adam Pogson and make it a double on the afternoon for leading jockey Hughes.
Only three of the seven runners in the concluding Andy Townsend Memorial Open National Hunt Flat Race had run under Rules before and it was Strensham Court, third to Ocean Heights over the course in June, who got off the mark with jockey Danny Burton, riding his first winner since the 2016-17 season, beating Larusso, who stepped up on his debut run at Kempton Park.