Warwick welcomes princesses, ponies, pirates and Pipe

She's Late, ridden by Sean Bowen, wins the opener at Warwick last Thursday. Picture: Les Hurley.
She's Late, ridden by Sean Bowen, wins the opener at Warwick last Thursday. Picture: Les Hurley.

Pirates and Princesses Family Fun Day is the theme for Warwick’s May Bank Holiday race meeting which gets underway at 12.45pm with the Racing UK Anywhere Novices’ Hurdle, writes David Hucker.

As well as seven races, the highlight of which should be the Quantum Manufacturing Handicap Hurdle over three miles and one furlong, there is plenty of children’s entertainment including fancy dress competitions, pony rides and face painting.

Sam Twiston-Davies is the top jockey at the course over the last five years with 21 winners and Alan King heads the trainer rankings with 26 successes.

Along with Tom Scudamore, who rides for the powerful David Pipe stable, and Richard Johnson, who has finished runner-up in the jockeys’ championship 15 times, Twiston-Davies is a leading fancy to take the crown following retirement of the legendary AP McCoy.

Accompanied children aged 17 and under go free to all meetings and adult tickets for Monday are available from £11 for advance bookings. Parking is free in the centre of the course.

There was plenty of interest in last Thursday’s St George’s Day meeting as Sean Bowen and Nico de Boinville went head to head in their bid to become champion conditional jockey.

After a winner at Ffos Las the night before, Bowen started the day two ahead and was aboard She’s Late for Jonjo O’Neill in the opening handicap hurdle, while de Boinville took the mount on Nicky Henderson’s What a Jewel, who was sent off the 11-4 favourite.

It was Bowen who came out on top, as he sent She’s Late past leader Tidal Way three flights from home and comfortably held off Bold Duke, with What A Jewel back in third.

In the following Yorkshire &Cheshire Handicap Chase, Bowen was on Cruising Bye, who had broken a run of near misses when finally winning at Chepstow last time.

He had to settle for a place again, finishing third behind Allthekingshorses, who atoned for unseating jockey James Best at Exeter a week before.

But, it was business as usual in the first division of the National Hunt Flat Race, as 17 year-old Bowen increased his lead further when partnering Desertmore Hill to victory for his father Peter and effectively wrapping up the title in his first season as a professional.

The big race of the day was the £20,000 Close Brothers Business Finance Handicap Hurdle over three miles and a furlong and, disappointingly, just three lined up for this valuable prize.

It was the 4-1 outsider Dawn Commander, ridden by Brendan Powell, who prevailed, setting a steady pace from the off and quickening up in the straight to put daylight between himself and his nearest pursuer No No Mac.

In the finale, a hunter chase run for the Crudwell Cup, Gunmoney was clear entering the straight, but Vincitore got up in an exciting finish to win by a neck.