Jumping masterclass from Rob The Getaway leads to feature race glory at Stratford Racecourse
TOP-weight Rob The Getaway, ridden by Alan Johns, put in a good round of jumping on his way to landing the £8,000 Bet At racingtv.com Handicap Chase, feature race of Stratford's seven-race card on Sunday, writes David Hucker.
For horses rated 0-110, there were only 6lbs separating the six runners in a tight handicap and Rob The Getaway was always travelling well over the two miles and three furlongs trip.
With Romanor departing early, the disappointing Prince Llywelyn pulling up and Champagne Noir dropping away, there were just three left in contention as the runners turned for home.
Locally-trained Atlantic Storm flattered to deceive, leaving the race between Rob The Getaway and Starjac coming to the last fence and, as he had done throughout the race, it was Rob The Getaway who put in the better jump to come away for a deserved win.
On a busy day for racing up and down the country, there was an early start to the meeting with the long-distance Visit racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle over three-and-a-quarter miles kicking off proceedings.
Missthecuddles and Max Kendrick took the runners along at a steady pace and were still in the lead jumping the penultimate flight, but favourite Wbee, winner of a bumper here in September 2019, took over going round the home bend.
Gary Hanmer's runner had been hitting the crossbar of late, going down by a neck on his latest run at Catterick and, despite a 2lb rise in the weights, found the net this time, proving too strong for the rest of the field, winning by five lengths from Drumlee Watar, who never got near enough to challenge.
Next up was the longest race on the card, the Racecourse Streams On Racing TV Extra Handicap Chase over three miles and three-and-a-half furlongs and it went to top-weight Furius De Ciergues who made every yard of the running with Robbie Dunne, beating Just In A Muddle, who tried in vain to close the gap in the home straight.
Only two were declared for the Join Racing TV Now Novices' Hurdle over two-and-three-quarter miles, but it still proved an interesting contest between Jeremy Pass, the choice from two entries for the season's leading trainer Paul Nicholls, and course winner The Bull McCabe, an imposing type who looks a chaser in the making.
Jeremy Pass was just preferred in the betting market, but it was David Bass and The Bull McCabe who took the lead and, although the favourite looked to have his measure as they straightened up to face the final flight, The Bull McCabe fought back and put in a good jump when he needed it to win going away.
Getawaytonewbay relished the distance and conditions to make it a second win over the course in the Watch On Racing TV Novices' Handicap Chase over two miles and three furlongs, proving too strong in the hands of Stan Sheppard for Air Hair Lair and the hard-pulling Pottlereaghexpress.
Front-running Fs Lola responded gamely to the urgings of James Best to hold off Persuer and land the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Mares' Handicap Hurdle.
Disappointment of the race was Sid Hoodie, who dropped away to be last of the four runners, dashing the hopes of Lambourn trainer Charlie Mann of a winner before his retirement at the end of the season.
Captain Buck's was a wide-margin winner at Musselburgh on his last run and was sent off favourite to score again in the concluding Stratford "Grassroots" Open Hunters' Steeple Chase over two and three-quarter miles.
But, it was I'm Wiser Now, a winner here in March, who pounced to claim the prize to give Albi Tufnell his second win from just four rides, collaring pace-setter Fishy Story near the line, with Captain Buck's only third.
This made it 99 winners for the season for trainer Fergal O'Brien with six days left to notch his maiden century.