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Racegoers make welcome return for third leg of Warwick's May Racing Carnival




SPORTS crowds are back and Warwick was sold out last Wednesday afternoon as 1,500 people took advantage of the easing of lockdown restrictions to enjoy the latest meeting of this year's May Racing Carnival, writes David Hucker.

1,500 spectators were welcomed back at Warwick for the third leg of the May Racing Carnival. Photo: David Hucker
1,500 spectators were welcomed back at Warwick for the third leg of the May Racing Carnival. Photo: David Hucker

Topping the seven-race card was the Class 2 Wigley Group Carnival Handicap Chase over two miles, with the betting headed by Fidelio Vallis, trained by Paul Nicholls and running in the familiar colours of John Hales.

He had been raised 6lbs for an easy win at Kempton Park on his last outing, but that didn't stop him as he made all the running, putting in an exhibition round of jumping with Bryony Frost, who was completing a double on the day, to beat off the challenge of Tikkinthebox by four lengths.

Fidelio Vallis leads Deyrann De Carjac and Tikkinthebox over the last in the Wigley Group Carnival Handicap Chase. Photo: David Pratt / dwprattracingphotography
Fidelio Vallis leads Deyrann De Carjac and Tikkinthebox over the last in the Wigley Group Carnival Handicap Chase. Photo: David Pratt / dwprattracingphotography

The opening NAF William Eborall Maiden Hurdle over two miles and three furlongs went to Goudhurst Star, who ran green when making his bumper debut here in February, but stepped up on his first outing over jumps, leading before the final flight to win going away from Helios Allen, who made a mistake, and Lubeat Foras.

Blazing Saddles failed to follow-up his Stratford win in March when beaten 12 lengths by Mystic Court at Taunton last month, but Matt Griffiths was back on board in the Coronation Handicap Hurdle over two miles.

They set out to make all the running, but Secret Potion, running his first race since wind surgery, was always in their slipstream and, although Bryony Frost was pushing away up the home straight, they jumped the last flight alongside and pulled away on the run-in to score at 15-2.

Blazing Saddles leads eventual winner Secret Potion (left) over the final flight in the Coronation Handicap Hurdle. Photo: David Pratt / dwprattracingphotography
Blazing Saddles leads eventual winner Secret Potion (left) over the final flight in the Coronation Handicap Hurdle. Photo: David Pratt / dwprattracingphotography

Nine set out for the Project Management Services Oxford Ltd Chandler Handicap Chase over an extended three miles and a furlong and it was Danilo D'Airy, the subject of a gamble when making all the running to win from 38lbs out of the handicap at the last meeting, who took them along at a good pace.

Runner-up Max Dynamo, who was having his first run since wind surgery that day, was 14lbs better off this time, but the result was the same with the two of them a long way clear of Hang Tough in third.

Champagne City was going for a hat-trick of course wins in the £18,500 Feldon Dunsmore Carnival Handicap Hurdle over two miles, but he couldn't take up his usual front-running position as Thebannerkingrebel took them along in the hands of Gavin Sheehan.

Fix Sun clears the last in the Feldon Dunsmore Carnival Handicap Hurdle. Photo: David Pratt / dwprattracingphotography
Fix Sun clears the last in the Feldon Dunsmore Carnival Handicap Hurdle. Photo: David Pratt / dwprattracingphotography

He stayed in front until giving way to Fix Sun at the penultimate flight and this ex-French horse stayed on strongly under Daryl Jacob with Champagne City getting the better of Thebannerkingrebel for the runner-up spot.

The stewards enquired into the running of favourite Blue Ribbon, who drifted from 10-11 to 11-8 and never looked like winning, finishing last of the four runners with trainer Dr Richard Newland reporting that the race came too soon after his last run at Worcester.

The Elizabeth Davenport Crudwell Cup Open Hunters' Steeple Chase over an extended three miles and a furlong remembers the most prolific winning horse of the 20th century who, between 1948 and 1960, won 50 of his 108 races, including 11 at Warwick on the flat and over jumps.

Captain Cattistock (left), Sugar Baron (centre) and Southfield Royale clear the last fence in the Elizabeth Davenport Crudwell Cup Open Hunters' Chase. Photo: David Pratt / dwprattracingphotography
Captain Cattistock (left), Sugar Baron (centre) and Southfield Royale clear the last fence in the Elizabeth Davenport Crudwell Cup Open Hunters' Chase. Photo: David Pratt / dwprattracingphotography

It went to Sugar Baron, who led on the run-in with Gina Andrews and held the renewed challenge of Captain Cattistock, who had made much of the running, by a length.

Despite running from a 1lb higher mark, I'm A Starman, runner-up to Pounding Poet at the last meeting, took the closing Warwickshire Handicap Hurdle over three miles and a furlong from Sartene's Son by just a short head in a thrilling finish.



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