The Glancing Queen storms to feature race glory at Warwick's Christmas at the Races meeting
FAVOURITE The Glancing Queen took the £25,000 Actioncoach Invest In The Best Lady Godiva Mares' Novices' Chase in impressive style at Warwick's Eventmasters Christmas at the Races meeting last Thursday, writes David Hucker.
Trainer Alan King saddled Midnightreferendum to finish runner-up in the race last year and he went one better this time as useful hurdler The Glancing Queen, a winner on her chasing debut at Bangor-on-Dee, joined leader Barbados Blue at the penultimate fence and went right away to win by seven-and-a-half lengths, being cut by the sponsors from 20-1 to 14-1 for the Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Hat-trick seeking Little River Bay was a faller down the back straight and Irish raider Kapard lost her chance with a bad mistake at the fourth-last obstacle.
French flat winner Saint Riquier, runner-up in his last two starts, was made favourite to go one better in the Agetur (UK) Ltd Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, but had to settle for second spot again as Graystone and Bryony Frost made all the running to score by seven lengths.
A mistake at the last flight could have made a difference, but Frost, on her only ride of the day, sat tight and Graystone ran out an easy winner.
Disappointment of the race was debutant Vazir, backed into 3-1, who seemed to be going well enough turning for home, but the petrol tank emptied quickly and he could only finish sixth.
The trip was two miles and five furlongs for the Larkshill Engineering Maiden Hurdle and it went to Picanha and Tabitha Worsley, who made good progress down the back straight to challenge Kyntara at the penultimate fight and go clear when the runner-up bungled the final jump.
Outsider Arizona Cardinal, who had been prominent throughout, was back in third with Our Jet, who lost his right-fore shoe during the race, fourth in what looked an above-average field.
Last flight casualty Limetree Boy was none the worse for his fall, but his jockey Jonjo O'Neill Jnr was stood down for the rest of the afternoon.
There was drama in the Alpha Boilers Handicap Hurdle when Jet Plane became yet another horse to make a mistake at the final hurdle but, this time, it proved crucial as he dropped Harry Skelton to the ground, making way for Glimpse Of Gala to beat Jaytee and win for the second time this season on her handicap debut.
Brave Seasca put up the second impressive performance of the afternoon when making light of his burden of 11-13 in the Champion Compressors Novices' Handicap Chase to score by ten lengths from favourite Tokay Dokey on just his second appearance over fences.
Pemberley and Frisco Bay went head-to-head all the way up the home straight in the longest race of the afternoon, the M-Tec Consulting Group Handicap Chase over three miles, with the former prevailing by half a length to get off the mark over fences at the fourth time of asking.
There was a shock in the closing Davis Site Security Open National Hunt Flat Race when 50-1 shot Hauraki Gulf provided Knowle trainer Deborah Cole with her first winner for 20 years and jockey Gearold Harney with his first success from four rides when beating Grand Knight.