Jockey Noel Fehily was in sparkling form at Warwick’s Business Networking Raceday on Friday, landing a treble, capped by a never-say-die ride on Ballydague Lady for in-form trainer Neil Mulholland, writes David Hucker.
Only two horses ever really got into contention in the opening Willmott Dixon Supply Chain Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, with Nucky Thompson and Castafiore fighting a ding-dong battle up the home straight. There was nothing between them coming to the final flight, but Nucky Thompson and Fehily jumped the better of the two and ran on well to prevail by a neck.
In the absence of likely favourite Blue Heron, just two set out in the afternoon’s feature, the £10,000 Lewis Badges 1832 Novices’ Chase, but there was only one left in it when Bantam and champion jockey Richard Johnson parted company at the fourth fence.
That left Towcester winner Pinkie Brown, himself a faller at Cheltenham on his last run, out on his own, but there was to be no more drama, as he put in a clean round of jumping this time to give Fehily his second winner.
Trainer Neil Mulholland had entered Ballydague Lady in a number of races over the week, but he opted to run her in the Willmott Dixon Supply Chain Handicap Chase, which, in the absence of Butlergrove King, had been reduced to only three runners.
It proved the right choice as, having been passed by Kitchapoly at the 11th fence, Ballydague Lady produced a storming run to get her head in front again near the line to bring up Fehily’s treble and Mulhulland’s half-century of winners for the season.
Three lined up for the Willmott Dixon Supply Chain Novices’ Hurdle over three-and-a quarter miles and, although top-weight Linguine disputed the lead early on, it was Braventara who made most of the running to give Johnson his 99th success of the campaign.
The Willmott Dixon Supply Chain Handicap Hurdle went to Angus Glens, who was having his first run for trainer Grace Harris, showing improved form from his last effort when a beaten odds-on favourite at Stratford in October.
Brownville was a hot 2-5 favourite to land the ROA/Racing Post Owners Jackpot Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (Challenger Series Qualifier) over a trip of nearly three-and-a-quarter miles, but he met his match in Vikekhal, who jumped into the lead at the third-last fence to score a seven-length success, before Odello made a winning debut under a well-judged front-running ride by Gavin Sheehan to take the concluding National Hunt Flat Race.
There is racing at the course again next Wednesday (16th), when the seven-race card gets underway at 12.35pm.