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Williams' delight as Red Infantry lands feature race at Warwick

Red Infantry jumps the last In the 188Bet Stephen Allday Perpetual Plate Chase. Photo: David Pratt (dwprattracingphotography.co.uk)
Red Infantry jumps the last In the 188Bet Stephen Allday Perpetual Plate Chase. Photo: David Pratt (dwprattracingphotography.co.uk)

TOP weight Red Infantry and Robbie Dunne made every yard of the running to land the feature race at the 188Bet sponsored Spring Race Day at Warwick on Wednesday for Alvechurch trainer Ian Williams, writes David Hucker.

Last year, the Stephen Allday Perpetual Plate Chase for novices attracted just three runners but, with an uplift in prize money, there was a larger turnout this time, with Red Infantry facing seven opponents over the three-mile trip.

Leading from start to finish, he made light of the testing conditions, running his rivals ragged, finishing 26 lengths clear of Ceann Sibheal, who was always in the leading group but, like the rest of the field, had no answer as the winner powered clear in the home straight.

Tossapenny was a clear market leader to beat his eight rivals in the opening maiden hurdle for four year-olds and upwards over two miles and five furlongs.

He had every chance when coming to challenge General Consensus approaching the penultimate flight, but found nothing when asked to go past the leader, eventually finishing a disappointing fourth.

There had been money for General Consensus, who shortened from 20-1 to 14-1 just before the off, and he made all the running to give amateur Joseph Drinkwater his first success of the season and the second in all from 15 rides.

There was plenty of confidence behind course winner Harefield in the second, with Alan King, the leading trainer at the track this season, saying: “He schooled very well on Monday and I’m looking forward to getting him out again.”

Punters took the hint, sending Harefield off the even-money favourite, but it was another result for the bookies, as he fell when out of contention at the final flight, with Whatmore, who had taken the lead turning out of the back straight, galloping clear with Richard Johnson to bring up Henry Daly’s 31 winner of the campaign and take him level with King at the top of the Warwick leader board.

Johnson, who starts a seven-day suspension this weekend, was looking for another winner on board Olly Murphy’s Fresh New Dawn, who was returned 2-1 favourite in the 188Bet On Twitter Handicap Hurdle over three and a quarter miles.

With morning rain softening up the turf again, it was always likely to prove a test of stamina on going described as soft, heavy in places and, although travelling well throughout the race, Fresh New Dawn couldn’t close down the front two going to the last.

It was another Warwickshire trainer who came out on top, as the Robin Dickin runner Young Lou jumped well throughout and ran on strongly for Tabitha Worsley to beat Albert D’Olivate by one and three-quarter lengths.

The trip was even longer for the following handicap chase in which Alberto’s Dream was seeking a four-timer. Forecast to go off favourite, he was easy to back in the betting ring, as punters preferred Flight Commander, who was still looking for his first win of the season.

But, the form horse prevailed as, having eased past The Last Bridge, winner in 2017, Alberto’s Dream had too much in hand for his rival, although clocking a time over one and a half minutes above the standard for the course and distance.

Despite three non-runners, there were still ten to face the starter in the concluding race, with Now McGinty, who got off the mark at the 13 attempt at the last meeting, having to overcome a 10lb rise in the weights as he tried to follow up.

Ridden with confidence by Tom O’Brien, NowMcGinty led from start to finish, going further and further away from the rest over the last two obstacles to finish 20 lengths in front of Mahlervous, who came from a long way back to pass tired horses without posing any threat to the winner.

There will be racing again in Easter week with the St Marys Lands Cup Day on Thursday 5th April, when the feature event on the seven-race card will carry a £30,000 prize fund.

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