Rigadin De Beauchene stayed on resolutely to take the feature Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick on Saturday and lift winning trainer Venetia Williams above £500,000 in season prize money, writes David Hucker.
Pete The Feat, who had made astonishing progress since joining Charlie Longsdon’s stable this season, was sent off favourite to win his sixth race in a row, but he had to contend with another rise in the weights and tackle a journey further than he had ever been before.
He raced keenly throughout and took the lead at the 14th fence, the first in the back straight, from Godsmejudge, who then rallied to go to the front again two out.
But, neither could resist the run of Rigadin De Beauchene, partnered as usual by claimer Robbie Dunne, who stayed on best of all on the flat to land the spoils close home.
Outside of the big one, it was a good day for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and his jockey son Sam, who had a double with The New One and Pure Science.
The New One came into the meeting a winner of five of his six races under Rules, with his only defeat being at last year’s Cheltenham Festival when sixth behind Champagne Fever in the Festival Bumper.
He made a very impressive start to life over hurdles with victories at Newton Abbot and Cheltenham to his name, but a minor setback had kept him off the track since October.
That absence did not stop punters sending him off the hot 1-2 favourite for the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle and he cruised home by 16 lengths from Mickie with Hold Court another 21 lengths back in third.
The Betfred “Newcomers” Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race featured 12 runners making their racecourse debut, so it is difficult to know how strong the form of the race will work out to be.
But Pure Science could not have been more impressive when going clear two furlongs out to beat No No Mac by nine lengths and it will be interesting to see how he fares under a penalty next time.
Before racing, Twiston-Davies had worked the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander, who is on the comeback trail. Ridden by Paddy Brennan, Imperial Commander galloped with stable companion Golden Jubilee and Brennan said afterwards: “I was very happy with him. Nigel has him spot on.”
Rocky Creek, ridden by Daryl Jacob, was an easy winner of the Betfred Mobile Lotto Novices’ Chase when coming home clear of Fill The Power with Highland Lodge a disappointing last of the three finishers.
This was the second year running that Highland Lodge has been beaten when favourite for a race at this meeting and, although the going was soft, it could just be that he needs really deep ground to be seen at his best.
There is racing again next Thursday when, in addition to a seven-race card, there will be a darts event featuring Terry ‘The Bull’ Jenkins.
The Bull will be taking on local league players, jockeys and competition winners.
The racecourse are offering an exclusive Terry Jenkins package costing £15, which includes entry, pie and a pint when using the promo code TJP2401.