Hawthorn Cottage win highlight of Warwick's Celebration Race Night
By David Hucker
Picture by David Pratt
Lucy Barry and Hawthorn Cottage made every yard of the running to land the South West Syndicate Novices' Handicap Chase, highlight of Warwick s Celebration Race Night on Wednesday, writes David Hucker.
Clear turning into the home straight, Hawthorn Cottage looked to have the race in safe keeping, but the gap was shrinking fast at the end of the three mile trip as favourite No Anxiety mounted a strong challenge on the run-in and there was just a neck in it at the line.
For jockey Barry, this was her last ride, as she announced her retirement immediately after the race having achieved her ambition to win over fences for owners Melbourne 10 Racing for whom she bought the winner.
There were no rich pickings for punters in the opening Congratulations Harry Skelton Warwickshire's Champion Jockey “National Hunt” Novices' Hurdle over two miles which went to the hot 1-9 favourite Broomfield Burg who followed up his Southwell bumper win for owner J P McManus.
Next up was the Bet At racingtv.com Novices' Hurdle over the longer distance of two miles and five furlongs in which the betting was dominated by previous winners Mon Frere and Bellatrixsa, but they couldn't catch The Wrekin, himself a winner last time out at Ludlow, who jumped fluently in the hands of Tom O'Brien and saw out the trip in fine style.
Although just four lined up for the Feldon Dunsmore Moving To Warwick Mares' Handicap Hurdle over two miles, it still looked a trappy affair. The runners were closely packed down the back straight but, by the turn for home, Kilmington Rose and Green Or Black had pulled clear of the other two.
Although they were still locked together jumping the final flight, Green Or Black quickly dropped out of contention and it was bottom-weight Solstalla, having her first run since wind surgery, who came through to grab second spot behind 11-8 favourite Kilmington Rose who ran on strongly in first-time blinkers.
The second race over the bigger obstacles was the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Handicap Chase over two and a half miles which, even with top-weight Twycross Warrior an absentee, still saw 13 runners line up, with the betting headed by Special Buddy.
He could only finish third, however, as, in a thrilling finish, Write It Down, ridden by Richie McLernon, denied Briac by a short head to give owner J P McManus a double on the card.
Longest race of the evening was the racingtv.com Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle over three and a quarter miles and it went to Starsky, owned and trained by Dan Skelton, who led at the fourth-last flight and held on well from outsider Bomber's Moon.
The Get Daily Tips At racingtv.com Open Maiden National Hunt Flat Race brought the evening and the season to a close and it saw Russian Ruler beat stable companion Surrey Quest to make it a first and last race double for trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico de Boinville.