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Vosne Romanee makes it back-to-back wins at Stratford

Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies and happy owners from Foxtrot Racing. Photo: David Hucker
Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies and happy owners from Foxtrot Racing. Photo: David Hucker

THERE was a sea of happy faces in the winner’s enclose after Vosne Romanee, owned by Foxtrot Racing, made it back-to-back wins over the Stratford course to lift the feature Finnick Group Handicap Chase at a packed Ladies' Day on Sunday, writes David Hucker.

With £25,000 in the prize fund, the two miles and one furlong contest had attracted a competitive field, headed by Vosne Romanee, who had beaten Royal Plaza on his most recent start .

He was now running off a career-best handicap mark of 140 but, held up by Sam Twiston-Davies, he repeated the trick, coming to tackle Theflyingportrait and Lord Ben in the home straight and going away to score by six lengths.

Dual winner Leapaway was sent off the 1-4 favourite to land the opening Shakespeare Media Novices’ Hurdle over two miles for champion jockey Richard Johnson, as he looked to close the gap on Harry Skelton at the top of this year’s table.

Havisham, who was pulled up behind Mr Mafia at Southwell, went off at a good pace, but Johnson always had him in his sights, as the front two pulled well clear of the remainder. Having gone on between the last two flights, Leapaway quickly asserted to come home in a canter, with course winner Romanor making some late headway to finish third.

Johnson was on board Olly Murphy’s Knight Commander in the following Allan Atkinson Memorial Handicap Hurdle over an extended two and a quarter miles, but he could only finish third to 14-1 shot G’Day Aussie, who survived a mistake at the final flight to beat course winner Thahab Ifraj, who stepped up on his first run of the season at Newton Abbot to suggest that his turn won’t be far away.

On official ratings, Ordo Ab Chao, beaten six lengths by the useful Our Three Sons over fences last time, looked to be in with a good chance of scoring for the Murphy/Johnson combination in the Touch FM Selling Hurdle, being well backed into 10-11 favourite.

But, he was never in contention, finishing only fifth to easy winner Ink Master, who made all the running with Brian Hughes to beat Cool Macavity and KingAlfonso. The winner was bought back at the post-race auction for 7,000gns.

Mr Mafia, who completed a four-timer for the season at Newton Abbot, was looking for another win in the Stuart Stanley Retro Rebel Handicap Hurdle, but he had been raised fully 22lbs by the handicapper since the start of his winning streak and that proved a step too far, as he could only finish third to top-weight Forthefunofit, who had been backed from 13-2 into 9-2 ahead of the day.

But, he only just got there as The Drone, who had led from the start of the three and a quarter mile trip, just wouldn’t give in and it was on the nod of the heads at the line as to which horse had won.

Craigmor, who had finished fourth to Mr Mafia over hurdles at Southwell, made his debut over the larger obstacles in the following New Destination Spa At The Ardencote Novices’ Handicap Chase.

Rated on 106, he was allotted top-weight of 12-0, but came to challenge Alexander The Grey at the final fence and stayed on strongly under the champion jockey to finally give Olly Murphy, who was represented by his mother Anabel, a winner on the afternoon at his local track.

Mayllan, runner-up at Uttoxeter on her debut, set the standard in the closing Dan Skelton Racing Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, but she found one too good for her again, as point-to-point winner Getaway Honey, who had also finished second on her racecourse debut, stayed on strongly in the final furlong to make it a double for jockey Brian Hughes.

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