Top weight Red Infantry, trained at Alvechurch by Ian Williams, made every yard of the running in the hands of Robbie Dunne to land the feature race at the 188Bet-sponsored Spring Race Day at Warwick, writes David Hucker.
Last year, the Stephen Allday Perpetual Plate Chase for novices attracted just three runners but, with an uplift in prize money, there was a larger turnout this time, with Red Infantry facing seven opponents over the three-mile trip.
Leading from start to finish, he made light of the testing conditions to finish 26 lengths clear of Ceann Sibheal, who was always in the leading group but, like the rest of the field, had no answer as the winner powered clear in the home straight.
Tossapenny was a clear market leader to beat his eight rivals in the opening maiden hurdle for four-year-olds and upwards over two miles and five furlongs. He had every chance when coming to challenge General Consensus approaching the penultimate flight but found nothing when asked to go past the leader, eventually finishing a disappointing fourth.
There was plenty of confidence behind course winner Harefield in the second, with punters sending him off the even-money favourite. However, it was another result for the bookies as he fell when out of contention at the final flight, with Whatmore, who had taken the lead turning out of the back straight, galloping clear with Richard Johnson to bring up Henry Daly’s 31st winner of the campaign.
Johnson, who starts a seven-day suspension this weekend, was looking for another winner on board Olly Murphy’s Fresh New Dawn, who was returned 2-1 favourite in the 188Bet On Twitter Handicap Hurdle over three-and-a-quarter miles.
But it was another Warwickshire trainer who came out on top as the Robin Dickin runner Young Lou jumped well throughout and ran on strongly for Tabitha Worsley to beat Albert D’Olivate by one-and-three-quarter lengths, with the favourite one-paced back in third.
Alberto’s Dream was seeking a four-timer the following long-distance handicap chase and, having eased past the 2017 winner The Last Bridge, proved too good for market leader Flight Commander
Despite three non-runners, there were still ten to face the starter in the concluding race, with Now McGinty, who got off the mark at the 13th attempt at the last meeting, having to overcome a 10lb rise in the weights as he tried to follow up.
Ridden with confidence by Tom O’Brien, Now McGinty led from start to finish, going further and further away from the rest over the last two obstacles to finish 20 lengths in front of Mahlervous, who came from a long way back to pass tired horses without posing any threat to the winner.
There will be racing again in Easter week with the St Marys Lands Cup Day on Thursday.