It was honours even in the battle between punters and bookies at Warwick yesterday, with favourites taking three of the afternoon’s six races, writes David Hucker.
It was round one to punters as Canicallyouback, the choice from two entries for trainer Evan Williams, took the opening Ignite Incentives “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle over two miles.
Looking to get back to winning ways after finishing second to the useful Regulation at the last meeting, Canicallyouback carried a 7lb penalty for his earlier win at Worcester, but that did not stop him scoring again, although he idled near the finish and only had a neck to spare over hurdles debutant Abbreviate.
Dormouse, trained at Wilmcote by Anabel Murphy, was out to record a fourth course win in the 2015 Dealer Principal Event Handicap Hurdle, but he could not make ground on the leaders from two flights out, finishing out of the frame behind 7-1 shot Satanic Beat, who led at the last and was ridden out to deny market leader Watt Broderick.
Handsome Buddy, owned and trained by Michael Gates at Clifford Chambers, had not won since landing a race at Worcester 13 months ago but, with Mickey Hamill back in the saddle and dropping close to his winning handicap mark, looked to be in with a chance in the Hague Print Management Handicap Chase.
He headed Badgers Retreat at the last fence, but Nick Mitchell’s runner, who did well to be beaten just a head by Court Of Law at the last meeting after Gavin Sheehan’s saddled had slipped, got his head in front again on the run-in to snatch the prize.
Top Spin was pulled out late on from races at Stratford and Newton Abbot because of rain-softened ground, but he finally got his conditions in the Ken Muir Memorial Handicap Hurdle and punters sent him off a solid 13-8 favourite.
He had every chance going to the penultimate flight but made no impression on the leading pair Bayley’s Dream and Shadarpour, who were separated by a neck at the line.
Jockey Aidan Coleman, who was the victim of an assault in the weighing room at Southwell on Tuesday, had good chances in the last two races with mounts for Over Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon, for whom he had ridden out six horses on Wednesday morning before going to get his damaged teeth repaired.
The first was Off The Ground, who carried top weight in the £10,000 Colliers International Rating Division Handicap Chase, but he failed to live up to his name, hitting the deck at the second-last fence, leaving Urcalin to go clear and win from Horatio Hornblower.
Finally, Coleman had something to smile about as the consistent Atlantic Gold, sent off the hot 4-9 favourite, gained his first win in the concluding Warwick Racecourse Supporting Racing To School Maiden Hurdle.