Warwick course ambassador Dan Skelton was in double-winning form for the second meeting running last Thursday, as Ashoka and Born Survivor both made winning debuts over hurdles, writes David Hucker.
Skelton currently lies second in the jumps trainers’ championship behind his mentor Paul Nicholls, having amassed over £600,000 in prize money for the season.
Both horses were ridden by his brother Harry, who took his tally to 58, his best in ten years as a jockey.
Ten horses had faced the starter for the opening Eventmasters Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle over two miles, but there were only two in it at the finish as 11-10 favourite Ashoka led on the run-in to beat the erratic For Goodness Sake.
Ninety minutes later, Born Survivor, a winner of his only point-to-point in Ireland, made a successful debut under Rules when proving too good for 20-1 outsider Minella Charmer to take the Eventmasters Twickenham Hospitality Packages Maiden Hurdle.
Born Survivor is in the same ownership as Three Musketeers, a winner of the Grade 2 Leamington Novices’ Hurdle (run as the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle) at the course last season, and is set to follow in his hoofsteps next month.
Leicester winner Red Spinner topped the weights in the feature £10,000 Eventmasters 6 Nations Rugby Hospitality Packages Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase, but had no trouble beating his two rivals, leading all the way for jockey David Bass to easily see off joint favourites Notnowsam and Lanceur.
There was another small field in the following racinguk. com Handicap Chase, but it produced an exciting finish as Toowoomba collared leader Capilla on the run to the line to score for Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs and jockey Tom O’Brien.
The longest race of the afternoon was the Warwick Racecourse handicap Chase over a trip of three miles and it produced an easy winner in Cyclop, who gained compensation for his fall at Market Rasen last time out when scoring by 14 lengths.
It was a good performance for a four-year-old against much more experienced rivals and gave winning jockey Aidan Coleman his 95th success of the season.
The Eventmasters Rugby Hospitality Packages Handicap Hurdle ended in another close finish when 12-1 shot Extreme Impact, who had led to the seventh flight, returned to the front to deny Scales and win by three-quarters of a length.
Gloucestershire trainer Ben Pauling took last season’s running of the concluding National Hunt Flat Race with Barters Hill, who has rattled up five wins in all and is a leading fancy for Cheltenham Festival honours.
Whether Willoughby Court will reach the same heights remains to be seen, but he was very impressive in making all the running to beat Infinityandbeyond and give David Bass a riding double on the afternoon.