Racing returns at Warwick on Friday when Olympic champion Nick Skelton is the special guest at the course’s Business Networking Raceday, writes David Hucker.
Highlight of the afternoon’s racing is the £10,000 Lewis Badges 1832 Novices’ Chase, won last year by Willow’s Saviour, trained and ridden by Skelton’s sons Dan and Harry.
The combination could come out on top again with Blue Heron, who was rated at 155 over hurdles and returned after a long lay-off at Market Rasen last month.
The Willmott Dixon Supply Chain Juvenile Maiden Hurdle gets the seven-race card underway at 12.50pm and this two-mile contest has attracted 15 entries, with Ahraam probably having the best form of those which have run over jumps.
Trainer Harry Whittington is hoping Ahraam will improve on his two runs to date after a recent wind operation, but it may pay to go with one of the newcomers and Tyrell, a winner over two miles on the Flat at Nottingham in July, could make a successful debut for trainer Alan King.
Next up is the Willmott Dixon Supply Chain Novices’ Hurdle over three-and-a-quarter miles, in which Silvergrove, who ran off a handicap rating of 138 over this distance in an amateur riders’ chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, catches the eye.
The Willmott Dixon Supply Chain Handicap Hurdle looks like being a competitive affair and, among the 26 entries is the popular Dormouse, trained at Wilmcote by Anabel Murphy, who has won three times over the course and would be starting his 67th race.
Longest chase of the afternoon is the ROA/Racing Post Owners Jackpot Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (Challenger Series Qualifier) over a trip of nearly three-and-a-quarter miles and it could see the return of another course winner in Cheat The Cheater, although he is rated 5lb higher than for his victory here in February.
Welsh trainer Rebecca Curtis, who landed the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday with Irish Cavalier, could add to her seasonal tally with Globalisation, who ran with promise at Aintree and whose handicap has dropped to 114, just below that of his last success a year ago.