Saturday Round Up….
A superb day’s racing and Oliver Sherwood takes the biggest plaudits with Many Clouds firing him right back to the big time landing a second Hennessy for the trainer some 24 years since Artic Call took the contest for him in 1990.
Leighton Aspell rode him to perfection taking over at the last from Houblon Des Obeaux and Merry King who were to finish second and third respectively and run strongly to the line in a thrilling finish to a very competitive handicap. The winning trainer who of course joined RacingFM for the weekend preview show on Friday will now be considering bigger races for the chaser this season and was thrilled with his charge. “He’s a very, very tough horse and I’m delighted for the whole team.”
The pre race favourite Djakadam ran well but couldn’t go with the front few when the race got serious whilst Monbeg Dude ran well to finish fourth with Smad Place back in fifth spot.
On the same card Alan King was surprised but pleasantly so as Medinas reeled in Cole Harden and More Of That to take the long distance hurdle on the card at rewarding odds of 8/1 under a rider in great form, Richard Johnson. Punters will have been dissapointed with More Of That, winner of the World Hurdle at Cheltenham last season as the 4/7f laboured in the final stages to only finish third. King had been considering retirement for the winner not so long ago according to reports but he showed all his best attributes under a clever patient ride from Johnson.
At Newcastle a super treble for Colin Tizzard and young Brendan Powell brought great reaction from the crowds especially as Hey Big Spender won another Rehearsal Chase despite rising 12 years old in a few weeks time. He obviously loves Newcastle and carried a big weight with great aplomb returning at 12/1.
The Fighting Fifth saw a very taking performance from Irving, securing a 100th Grade 1 success for trainer Paul Nicholls and he put in a terrific round of hurdling under a patient Nick Scholfield to come right away in the finish ahead of Aurore D’Estruval. The John Quinn trained charge had cut a strong travelling figure up front for much of the contest but couldn’t live with the pace of the winner after the last, she may well do better up in trip after this. Bookmakers quoting the winner Irving at around 20/1 now for the Champion Hurdle in March.
At Fairyhouse the exceptional two day winter meeting got under way with a competitive day’s racing and the highlight for many will be a first winner for Sandra Hughes having taken over the licence recently following the sad passing of her father Dessie.
Sub Lieutenant came home in front in the maiden hurdle on the card under Bryan Cooper to record her first win as a trainer which also comes at the same venue as Dessie’s first and last winners as a trainer himself. A moment much enjoyed by the patrons at the track and no doubt the racing community as a whole.
Dean Ryan 29/11/14
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