Sell-out crowd of 1,500 return for Warwick's Carnival races
By David Hucker
Sports crowds are back and Warwick was sold out on Wednesday afternoon as 1,500 people took advantage of the easing of lockdown restrictions to enjoy the latest meeting of this year's May Racing Carnival.
Topping the seven-race card was the Class 2 Wigley Group Carnival Handicap Chase over two miles, with the betting headed by Fidelio Vallis, trained by Paul Nicholls and running in the familiar colours of John Hales. He made all the running, putting in an exhibition round of jumping with Bryony Frost, who was completing a double on the day, to beat off the challenge of Tikkinthebox by four lengths.
The opening NAF William Eborall Maiden Hurdle over two miles and three furlongs went to Goudhurst Star, who ran green when making his bumper debut here in February, but stepped up on his first outing over jumps, leading before the final flight to win going away from Helios Allen, who made a mistake, and Lubeat Foras.
Blazing Saddles failed to follow-up his Stratford win in March when beaten 12 lengths by Mystic Court at Taunton last month, but Matt Griffiths was back on board in the Coronation Handicap Hurdle over two miles. They set out to make all the running, but Secret Potion was always in their slipstream and, although Bryony Frost was pushing away up the home straight, they jumped the last flight alongside and pulled away on the run-in to score at 15-2.
Nine set out for the Project Management Services Oxford Ltd Chandler Handicap Chase over an extended three miles and a furlong and it was Danilo D'Airy, the subject of a gamble when making all the running to win at the last meeting, who took them along at a good pace.
Runner-up Max Dynamo, who was having his first run since wind surgery that day, was 14lbs better off this time, but the result was the same with the two of them a long way clear of Hang Tough in third.
Champagne City was going for a hat-trick of course wins in the £18,500 Feldon Dunsmore Carnival Handicap Hurdle over two miles, but he couldn't take up his usual front-running position as Thebannerkingrebel took them along in the hands of Gavin Sheehan. He stayed in front until giving way to Fix Sun at the penultimate flight and this ex-French horse stayed on strongly under Daryl Jacob with Champagne City getting the better of Thebannerkingrebel for the runner-up spot.
The Elizabeth Davenport Crudwell Cup Open Hunters' Steeple Chase over an extended three miles and a furlong went to Sugar Baron, who led on the run-in with Gina Andrews and held the renewed challenge of Captain Cattistock, who had made much of the running, by a length.
Despite running from a 1lb higher mark. I'm A Starman, runner-up to Pounding Poet at the last meeting, took the closing Warwickshire Handicap Hurdle over three miles and a furlong from Sartene's Son, the two separated by just a short head at the line.