In-form Hooper lands feature race to claim fifth win on the bounce and third at Stratford Racecourse
PROGRESSIVE hurdler Hooper landed his fifth win in a row and his third over the course when taking the feature Class 3 MansionBet’s Betstival Bet 10 Get 20 Handicap Hurdle at Stratford on Tuesday afternoon, writes David Hucker.
After top-weight Cubswin had cut out the early running, it was Jamacho, owned jointly by Stratford Racecourse and Robert Aplin, who took over the lead at the penultimate flight.
He had company, however, in the shape of Hooper and Takeit Easy, judged to be the best-turned out in the parade ring, and they had the race between them going towards the final jump.
Much as Takeit Easy tried, he couldn’t match Hooper on the run to the line and Nicky Henderson’s five-year-old continued his rise up the ranks in the hands of conditional jockey Ben Ffrench-Davis.
The first of seven meetings at the course over high summer, the six-race card got under way with the Betstival Season At MansionBet Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and two-and-a-half furlongs.
The early money had been for Lingfield bumper winner Pop The Champagne, but it was Kelso winner All Clenched Up, the choice from two entries for trainer Fergal O’Brien, who went off favourite.
Neither was to get into contention as Princess Ruby took them along at a good pace, giving way at the penultimate flight to outsider Flighty Bride who turned for home with a clear lead.
In her slipstream was She’s All In Gold and, after joining the leader at the final jump, she went clear on the run-in with Henry Brooke to land her first win.
She’s All In Gold, who is well bred, being by Derby winner Golden Horn, was fulfilling the promise she had shown on the flat when trained by Tom Dascombe and could win again for new trainer Oliver Greenall who also owns her.
Shanandoa was the morning market mover with Paddy Power for the following MansionBet’s Season Of Love-ly Offers Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle and, having opened up at 3-1 on the course, she justified her support in the hands of Jack Tudor, holding Ronde De Nuit, another who was well backed from 4-1 into 11-4 favourite, by half a length, with Jessica Rabbit the same distance away in third.
There were two races over the bigger obstacles, the first of which was the MansionBet’s Betstival Beaten By A Head Novices’ Handicap Chase over two miles and a furlong for horses rated 0-105 and it went to 5-1 shot Sir Tivo, who led going over the water jump in front of the stands and made the rest of the running for a comfortable win from Getabuck, who just got the better of Badness Backfires for second spot.
The second was the MansionBet #Betstival Handicap Chase over the longer trip of two-and-three-quarter miles and it was Mackie Dee, who beat another of the runners Franz Klammer at Huntingdon in November, who topped the weights.
The latter was 10lbs better off, however, and having been backed from 8-1 in the morning to 13-2 at the off, disputed the lead from the start, running out a 25-length winner for Peter Pritchard who trains at Whatcote near Shipston-on-Stour.
Alcester trainer Dan Skelton is operating at a 21 per cent strike rate and Gregor, his only runner of the day, was looking to get off the mark over hurdles at the second attempt in the closing Follow @mansionbet This Betstival Season Novices’ Hurdle over the minimum trip of two miles.
Held up early on, he was brought with a well-timed run by Harry Skelton to join the leaders at the final flight and go clear of Newton Abbot winner Trailboss on the run-in to score by five-and-a-half lengths.