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Warwick Racecourse meeting to remember founding mare of successful hunter chases owned and trained by John Thorne




TODAY, Tuesday, is Air Wedding Hunter Chase Day at Warwick which remembers one of the founding mares of the dynasty of successful hunter chasers owned and trained by John Thorne at Chesterton near Leamington Spa, writes David Hucker.

Sky Pirate leads Generous Day and Amoola Gold over the last in the Edward Courage Cup Handicap Chase. Photo: David Pratt / dwprattracingphotography
Sky Pirate leads Generous Day and Amoola Gold over the last in the Edward Courage Cup Handicap Chase. Photo: David Pratt / dwprattracingphotography

Air Wedding was the dam of Polaris Missile and her son Spartan Missile, by Chesterton stallion Spartan General, was ridden by Thorne, aged 54, to finish second to Aldaniti in the 1981 Grand National.

Thorne had returned to race riding after his son Nigel was killed in a car accident, only to die tragically himself a year later from a fall at the Bicester point-to-point.

Yesterday, Monday, was the first day that amateur riders were permitted to return to race riding in England as part of the re-starting of grassroots sport but, with no hunter chases scheduled, Warwick's Air Wedding race will be the first that they will be able to ride in this season and Caid Du Berlais, with record-breaking point-to-point rider Will Biddick on board, will be well fancied to land the prize.

The eight-race card opens with the Join Racing TV Now Maiden Hurdle at 1.50pm over two miles and five furlongs in which Gadjet D'Ainay, runner-up to odds-on favourite Fletch on his debut at Uttxoxter, will be well supported to go one better for Dan and Harry Skelton.

However, with the winner not having run since and the third horse Oceans Red being well beaten twice, the value of the form is difficult to assess and it may pay to take a chance with Known, well bred by Fame And Glory out of a Presenting mare, having his first run for trainer Jonjo O'Neill since being sold out of Nicky Henderson's stable.

Next up is the Watch On Racing TV Mares' Novices' Handicap Chase over three miles and Skelton's Stylish Dancer, a comfortable winner over hurdles at Hereford, looks well-weighted running from the same mark of 87 on her chasing debut.

The trip is three-and-a-quarter miles for the third, the longest race of the afternoon, the Every Race Live On Racing TV Novices' Handicap Hurdle and wide-margin Plumpton winner Everything For You looks for a quick follow-up under a penalty.

Even with Charlie Todd's allowance, he still has 12-2 to carry and preference is for point-to-point winner Gold Clermont, who just failed to get off the mark at Ayr last time out, although has been raised 7lbs for that effort.

With Benatar, Fanzio and King D'argent all keen to be up with the pace, there should be no hanging around in the feature race, the Class3 Bet At racingtv.com Handicap Chase over two miles, and this could suit Generous Day, third here behind subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Sky Pirate in January when running 3lbs out of the handicap.

The runners will again be racing over two miles for the visit racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle which has attracted a competitive field of 12.

Givepeaceachance was making her second appearance after wind surgery when breaking her duck at the 18th attempt at Southwell and can score again.

The closing racingtv.com Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race has been divided into two with Blairgowrie, who took a while to warm up when finishing third on his debut here in December, a contender in the first and the grey Kayf Tara gelding Mexican Boy an interesting newcomer for Olly Murphy in the second.

Tickets are now on sale, with a money-back guarantee, for the Proudly Warwick Raceday to be held on Wednesday, 19th April where the course celebrates and showcases the local community.

Bookings can be made at www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/warwick.



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