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Sell-out crowd at Warwick Racecourse sees The Kings Writ snatch feature from Midnight Moss

THE Kings Writ and Ben Godfrey got up in the final strides to snatch the £16,400 Poundland Conditional Jockeys’ Veterans’ Handicap Chase, highlight of Warwick’s sell-out Poundland New Year’s Eve Raceday, writes David Hucker.

There was a bumper crowd for Warwick's New Year's Eve fixture. Photo: David Hucker (61625480)
There was a bumper crowd for Warwick's New Year's Eve fixture. Photo: David Hucker (61625480)

Leading for most of the three-mile trip, The Kings Writ had been passed by favourite Midnight Moss at the second-last fence, but he refused to be beaten, closing the gap slowly, but surely on the run-in to get his head in front again and win by the minimum margin of a nose.

There was a thrilling finish to start the day and get the big crowd of over 8,000 on their toes when 4-1 shot Bashers Reflection just held the renewed challenge of Samatian by half a length to take the opening Poundland Novices’ Handicap Hurdle over two miles and three furlongs.

Samatian had led until approaching the penultimate flight where Bashers Reflection took over but, just when he looked to be heading for a comfortable success, he made a mess of the final hurdle, allowing Samatian another chance and was all out to hold on at the end.

Warwick has a good record of winners at the course going on to taste success at the Cheltenham Festival the following March. Last year, the Poundland EBF Mares’ ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle, went to Love Envoi, who triumphed in the Grade 2 Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival, but whether this year’s winner Felicie Du Maquis proves up to that standard remains to be seen.

She doesn’t hold a Cheltenham entry, but is certainly on the right track as, carrying a penalty for her debut win at Lingfield, she made all the running in the hands of amateur Tommie O’Brien to see off the opposition in some style, the best of whom was staying-on favourite Victorias Peak.

The running of the Poundland-Proud To Support Warwick Racecourse Handicap Chase also proved to be a straight-forward affair as Unit Sixtyfour, runner-up in his last two starts and backed from 5-1 to 4-1 to score here, led from start to finish to beat Muse Of Fire by 12 lengths, with the rest of the field well strung out behind.

The second most valuable race on the card was the £15,700 Poundland Handicap Hurdle (Challenger Stayers’ Hurdle Series Qualifier) over three-and-a-quarter miles and it proved a tough test with six of the runners failing to finish.

Sporting Ace led over the third-last flight, but he was collared by Lord Snootie at the final jump, who stayed on resolutely under Jack Tudor.

The winner was well backed from 14-1 into 9-1 and he had four-and-a-half lengths in hand of Farmer’s Gamble, who passed the tiring Sporting Ace on the run-in to take second.

Nine set out in the Poundland Handicap Chase over two-and-a-half miles, but it only ever concerned two horses as Generous Day and Mister Watson dominated proceedings from the start.

It was Mister Watson who proved the stronger in the home straight, completing a double on the afternoon for trainer Ben Pauling and jockey Lorcan Williams after the earlier success of Unit Sixtyfour.

Bowenspark defied a penalty for his debut win at Uttoxeter in the closing Happy New Year From Poundland Open National Hunt Flat Race, beating Katate Dori by a neck with Masaccio, returning from a 622-day absence, a promising third.

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