The two codes came together on the only afternoon of mixed racing in the UK as the first big race of the new jumps season arrived on the scene with the Swinton Hurdle.
Seven races were on the card with big field handicaps along with some tight looking Pattern events on the flat being on offer for the brave punters who had to switch the jumping and flat caps near enough every half hour.
1.40 Pertemps Network Handicap,Class 3,1m,3yo (0-95)
A useful looking 3yo race which despite being very messy when some of the field bumped into each other around the bend resulted in a 1-2 for Richard Hannon.
Shaiyem came into this race off the back of a good second at Lingfield over 7f,he relished the extra furlong and kept up to his work to beat stablemate Steel Of Madrid by 1.25 lengths,he did hang to his left so maybe headgear will help, he is still green and learning, Steel Of Madrid found this much easier than the Craven,both might come back in the Bowl here in two weeks time.
2.15 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Swinton Hurdle) Grade 3,2m,9 flights,4yo+
Not a bad renewal of this famous handicap,the top weight was rated 149.
Gwafa in the colours more known by former Derby winner Authorised duly went in on his handicap debut here,last spotted when unseating at Aintree last month he duly repaid his faith seen in him,leading over the second last hurdle his rider Richie McClernon got him to find more on the run in when the cavalry tried to swamp him after the last flight,he has plenty of ability to improve in this sphere,his flat mark of 92 also means he could pop to Royal Ascot in June for the Ascot Stakes.
Runner up All Set To Go from the Paul Nicholls yard ran a credible race in defeat,he may end up being aimed for the Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen, Ch’tibello in third ran honourably but maybe the Scottish Champion Hurdle win left its mark.
Sadly Cheltenian was fatally injured after being pulled up jumping the sixth,condolences to all involved.
2.45 Pertemps Network Spring Trophy,Listed,7f,3yo+
A wide open event with the seven runners rated between 105 and 113
Smooth is as smooth does for the David O’Meara trained So Beloved as he began his season in fine style here,tracking the front two he lead coming to the last furlong and ran out a ready winner, a winner of a Group 3 at Goodwood over 7f in the summer last year he will be in the big 7f,1m races and should pick nice bits of money up.
Two lengths down in second spot was You’re Fired,a ready winner here last month over 1m he will be better back over that trip and lost nothing in defeat,Markaz back in third tends to need a few runs before he hits top form
3.20 Pertemps Network Long Distance Handicap Hurdle,Class 2,2m7f,12 flights,4yo+
Jockey Aidan Coleman continues his flying start to the new campaign here as he produced Whataknight at the right time to secure this ultra competitive long distance hurdle,bang up the inside from flag fall he got the lead over the last and moved away very readily by five lengths from the second placed runner Minella Daddy who in turn just got the edge over Lamool.
Ex pointer Whataknight has had a fair season over hurdles,he will be chasing next season and should make into a decent staying chaser, Minella Daddy was staying on at the end,dropped 4lb from his recent start at Aintree he has plenty to offer,Lamool in third dos his usual make all tactics but will be better dropped back in trip.
3.55 Pertemps Network Conditions Stakes,Class 2,6f,3yo+
Don’t Touch picked up where he left off last season as he resumed his progress by beating former Wokingham winner Baccarat by 1.25 lengths.
Tracking the early pace he led with 75yds left and probably needed the run,rated 106 he should go over 110 after this,The Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot may be next up but he could be sent to France for some big sprint races too, Baccarat clearly bumped into a good one here but still retains his ability
4.30 Pertemps Network Intermediate Handicap Chase,Class 2,2m5f 64yds,18 fences,5yo+
A good looking chase although a few of the runners have had issues with their jumping.
Javert found this much easier than his most recent outing at the Cheltenham Festival,taking over the lead after the fifth fence he made the rest under Daryl Jacob to score very comfortably by 4.5 lengths from Kilane and another 5 ahead from favourite Voix D’Eau.
Lots to like about this horse,twice a winner on his two completed starts over fences he races better when up with the pace,he’s likely to go for a summer break before a crack at bigger pots,maybe the Paddy Power or the Sefton Chases will be on the radar, Kalane ran a fair race in defeat and she can improve a bit more,Voix D’Eau would have been DQd if this was show jumping given his errors over the last four fences.
5.00 Pertemps Network Handicap Chase,Class 3,2m3f,15 fences,5yo+ (0-130)
A fair race,plenty of these came in under the grip of the handicapper.
Purple N’Gold broke the heart of outsider Ballybogey as jockey Tom Scudamore galvanised him to get up by half a length, both were 12 lengths clear from Domtaline who would have been closer had he not made so many errors.
Purple N’Gold was turned out pretty quick after finishing down the field at Kempton on Monday,he will probably be mixing between jumps and flat this summer, Balleybogey was really unlucky here and will be a regular at Southwell,Uttoxeter and Market Rasen this summer.
Bell Heather,4th in the 1m Hcap,she will be better upped in trip.
Next up here will be Temple Stakes Day in a fortnight unless anything this Saturday occurs.
Till next time Goodbye