I do enjoy a day at Warwick races, nestled about twenty miles south of Birmingham it is a dual purpose course and today was its big meeting of the whole year the Classic Chase which is a real stamina sapping steeplechase over 3m5f.
The first race was a trappy Novices Handicap Hurdle over 2m and a field of fifteen went to post with Flaming Charmer running out the winner in what was not the best quality field and none of the field will be festival bound that’s for sure.
Race two was the Edward Courage Cup Handicap Steeplechase over 2m and a very good performance from the improving Rody,trained by Tom George this 8yo was always jumping well and got the better of Eastlake by Eight lengths in the end,the winner could well end up in the Johnny Henderson Chase at the Cheltenham festival
Race three was an intriguing Novices Chase over 3m and Rocky Creek trained by Paul Nicholls is a horse I have always held in high regard, always travelling well and picked up this race after Tour des Champs who came to challenge then fell at two out, wether or not he would have won after falling is something we will never know, The favourite was Highland Lodge who was giving the winner 3lbs which told at the finish as he got overtaken on the line by Fill the Power who looks a real staying type. The winner will probably go for the RSA at the festival and maybe the Reynoldstown at Ascot before hand
Race four was a Pertemps Hurdle Qualifier over 3m ,this field was a mix bag of chasers using it as a chance to run of a lower rating,some with Aintree in mind,improving Novice Hurdlers and horses too high in the handicap to win anything, this year it went to the 2012 runner up Ely Brown trained by Charlie Longsdon was in the van guard all the way and this 8yo got the better of Holywell who is no back number and I can’t wait see if he goes novice chasing next season as it could be the making of him,back in third was a seasonal best from Hada Men who ran an eye catching race and could be picking up a prize come spring time,The favourite was The Package and he travelled ok before struggling to pick up and Timmy Murphy pulled him up before two out.
Fifth race was the Grade Two Leamington Novices Hurdle over 2m5f and this has been won by many good horses over the years and The New One trained by Nigel Twiston Davies beat a useful enough field and didn’t even come out of second gear and will head to Cheltenham down on many people’s lists as a possible banker should he line up in the Neptune Novices on day two,he jumps well and has a nice way about him,aged only Five he has many good years in the pipeline,back in second was Mickie trained by Henry Daly and he will be delighted that this mare got some useful Black Type to enhance the paddock value for her, Dursey Sound from the Jonjo O’Neill yard ran flat and ended up having pulling up before the second last but he can still Improve before the end of the season.
On to race six and this was the feature race the Classic Chase, a Handicap over 3m5f this is a stamina event and always a good event in its own right, This year we were treated to an epic battle as Rigadin de Beauchenne tracked long time leader Godsmejudge to get up by half a length for trainer Venetia Williams and jockey Richard Dunne, the favourite was Pete the Feat who was trying to make it six from six this season but didn’t quite get the extra distance and a return to Three miles will be the order of the day for him, As for the winner it’s possible a trip to Uttoxeter or Ayr will be next but ultimately the 2013 Welsh National will be his main aim next season.
On to the finale and this was a real test for racing fans, a National Hunt flat race for unraced horses over 2m in essence It was the Wood Ditton of the jumping game, hard to know what to make of the form but for the record it was won by Pure Science a 5yo trained by Nigel Twiston Davies who originally was with ex trainer Barry Hills on the flat but never made the course but showed he has ability and expect the Cheltenham and Aintree bumpers to be his target but he will make an even better jumper next season.
All in all a very good day of sport at Warwick, a track which is always worth a visit and no matter what the quality of the card is you get good racing and a nice day out for your money
Also before racing the crowd were treated by a course gallop from Imperial Commander who covered 2m and looked pretty well and will make his seasonal reappearance in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham in two weeks plus Neptune Collonges popped in to parade, the 2012 Grand National winner is now earning his trade as a dressage horse and who knows could he team up with Kauto Star for Rio 2016?