The £25,000 eventmasters.co.uk Lady Godiva Mares' Novices' Chase (Listed Race) tops the bill at Warwick’s Eventmasters Christmas At The Races on Thursday, with Mrs Lovett an interesting contender for leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott, writes David Hucker.
The choice from two entries for Elliott, Mrs Lovett has already won over fences at Fairyhouse and Thurles, to add to her two hurdle wins in France. She is owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, whose colours have been carried to success on numerous good horses over the course but, on official ratings, has a bit to find with some of her opponents, principally Jester Jet, runner-up to the useful Maria’s Benefit at Bangor-on-Dee, form which would see her in with a good chance here.
There will be spot prizes throughout the day for people wearing festive attire and gates open at 10.15am, two hours ahead of the first race, the Agetur UK Juvenile Maiden Hurdle over two miles. All the hurdle races will be run on the outside track for the first time this season, providing fresh ground which is described by clerk of the course Jane Hedley as good to soft, good in places.
Half of the 14 runners are making their debut over jumps, so there is not a lot of form for punters to go on and, of those that have run, David Pipe’s Teaser, a winner over a mile and a quarter at Leicester in October and runner-up on his first start over hurdles at Wincanton, looks the best bet.
With 52 horses entered originally, it is no surprise to see a maximum field declared for the following Actioncoach Invest In The Best Maiden Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs. Point-to-Point winner Birchdale makes his first appearance in the familiar colours of leading owner JP McManus, but it may pay to side with Samburu Shujaa, who plugged on well for Richard Johnson after setting a good pace at the last meeting and has experience on his side.
Stamina and the ability to handle soft ground will be needed for the Tom Gaughan Memorial Handicap Chase over three miles and course winner Paddy The Oscar fits the bill. Although 15-years old now, he retains his form well but, in a tight handicap, top-weight Jarlath is fancied to follow up his win here last month.
With Quarry Wizard a non-runner, thirteen will line up for the Gillygallypaddyparry Handicap Hurdle and Druid’s Folly looks a sound each-way bet for the in-form combination of trainer Robert Walford and jockey James Best.
Market Rasen winner Hard Station looks to follow up for Hampshire trainer Richard Bandey in the BHSF Handicap Chase, before Edwardstone could put his experience to use against some potentially useful newcomers in the concluding M-Tec Consulting Group Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.