Impulsive Star, owned by the chairman of Cheltenham racecourse, Robert Waley-Cohen, notched his first chase win under Rules when landing Warwick’s £75,000 McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Chase on Saturday, writes David Hucker.
The day before, Waley-Cohen had gone on Twitter to warn that his jockey son Sam might not make the low weight of 9-12 but his perseverance in shedding the pounds paid off as, despite being headed by Calett Mad going to the final fence, Impulsive Star fought back on the run-in to snatch the prize.
Waley-Cohen, one of a handful of amateurs to ride a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, will renew acquaintance with his mount at the Festival, where their target will be the four-mile National Hunt Chase, for which he was cut from 50-1 to 12-1 by Paddy Power.
Lining up against them could be Ok Corral, who was an impressive winner of the Hampton Novices’ Chase (Listed Race), the first of four races shown live on ITV4.
Leading Irish amateur Derek O’Connor was having his first ride at the track and also his first for trainer Nicky Henderson, but it could not have gone smoother as Ok Corral, who was friendless in the betting market, led at the final fence and quickly went clear of Secret Investor, who put in an untidy jump, to land another success in the familiar green and gold colours of JP McManus.
In the absence of course winner Birchdale, all the money was for dual hurdles winner Tidal Flow in the Grade 2 Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle but his supporters knew their fate down the back straight where he was struggling to go the pace, finishing last of the six runners.
The race went to Beakstown, who stands 17 hands high, a 134th winner of the season for jockey Harry Skelton, who poached a winning advantage when going clear round the home bend and come away from Stoney Mountain.
Trainer Dan Skelton, who moved to the 143-winner-mark for the season, was impressed with his winner saying: “He looked like a good horse all the way through the race.”
Star Of Rory was always in the thick of the action in the opening Trial Racing TV For Free Now Novices’ Handicap Hurdle over two miles but he was joined by Dyliev jumping the final flight and Caroline Bailey’s mare soon asserted on the run-in to record her first win at the ninth attempt.
A drop back in trip proved just the job for bottom-weight Generous Day in the Class 3 racingtv.com Edward Courage Cup Handicap Chase as, having jumped to the front down the back straight, he ran on strongly to repel the challenge of Movie Legend and Baby King.
Runner-up to Aaron Lad at Cheltenham last time out, Keeper Hill went one better in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle when jumping past outsider Oh Land Abloom at the last and, with the light fading quickly, Pour Joie pounced late under Aidan Coleman to collar Frau Georgia in the finale.