The grey Vibrato Valtat was the cheekiest of winners at Warwick’s Armed Forces Raceday on Wednesday, as jockey Sam Twiston-Davies put his head in front close home in the day’s feature event, writes David Hucker.
Balder Succes had scooped the Weatherbys Private Banking Novices’ Chase for trainer Alan King last year and he sent out the favourite for this year’s race with Grumeti.
Despite having winning form over fences, Grumeti jumped indifferently and could not land a blow as Vibrato Valtat was brought quietly and confidently by Twiston-Davies against the far rail to collar leader Thomas Crapper near the line.
Favourite Prettyasapicture was always disputing the lead in the opening Follow Us On Twitter @WarwickRaces Handicap Hurdle and, when Tom Bellamy kicked her clear over the second-last flight, she looked all over the winner.
But, King’s mare faded badly on the short run-in, finishing fifth in the end as 12-1 shot Guanciale came with a late winning run under Robert Dunne to beat Peadar Miguel and top-weight Rayak.
The runners were closely packed on the first circuit in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Handicap Chase but, after Trickaway had unseated Richard Johnson at the 12th fence, the field became well strung out.
The Ould Lad jumped into the lead at the fourth-last and Paddy Brennan’s mount was able to come home unchallenged to open his account at the second time of asking.
After the defeat of the long odds-on Vaihau at the last meeting, punters could have been forgiven for not wanting to get stuck in to Golden Doyen in the Business Partners’ Day Juvenile Maiden Hurdle.
But they need not have worried as Johnson, showing no ill-effects from his fall, brought the 1-4 favourite home the easiest of winners from Aristocracy to mar k him out as one to follow for the future.
Mendip Express has stamina in abundance and this prolific chase and point-to-point winner ran his rivals into the ground in the long-distance Business Partners’ Day Novices’ Hurdle, galloping well clear of a tired The Tourard Man and early leader Lock Towers.
The trip was three-and-a-quarter miles for the Racing UK Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase but Silver King and Allthekingshorses set a strong pace up front, stalked by Georgian King in third.
Silver King saw off his rival turning for home but had nothing left to resist the challenge from Georgian King and Tom Bellamy, who prevailed by one-and-a-half lengths at odds of 12-1.
The well-backed Lifeboat Mona took the concluding Whitson Bloodstock George Mernagh Memorial Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race by a neck from Surtee Du Berlais to complete a double for Twiston-Davies and trainer Paul Nicholls.