Owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede saw their colours carried to victory for the third year in a row in Warwick’s Highflyer/Million In Mind Novices’ Chase on Wednesday as hot favourite Sceau Royal was never out of a canter to beat sole rival San Pedro De Senam, writes David Hucker.
Sceau Royal had made a winning debut over fences when beating Ballyhill over course and distance in October. He subsequently failed by a neck to give weight to the useful North Hill Harvey at Cheltenham but, with the winner scoring again at the course on Sunday, that was no disgrace.
Immediately after Cheltenham, trainer Alan King nominated Wednesday’s contest as the next target and he made all the running with jockey Daryl Jacob, who was also on board the owners’ two previous winners, Top Notch last year and the high-class Bristol De Mai in 2015.
The day had started well for King when Harefield, a promising fourth on his hurdles debut at Exeter last month, took the opening PJ & KR Smith-Maxwell Horse Ambulances “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.
With early leader Destined To Shine parting company with Joshua Moore down the back straight, it was 20-1 shot Shanroe Saint who took the field along until the second-last flight where Harefield, who had always been travelling comfortably just behind the leading group, jumped to the front and powered ahead to get favourite backers off to a good start.
Top-weight Sparkling River made every yard of the running under Dave Crosse to lift the following Whitson Bloodstock Ltd Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase, holding on close home to deny the fast-finishing Same Circus and Sister Sibyl.
Course ambassador Dan Skelton hit a century of winners when Destrier scored at Leicester two days before and he added to his seasonal total with MollyThe Dolly who opened her account under Rules in the Thoroughbred Breeders Association Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
There were three in with a chance coming to the final filght in the Biggest Jumps Season on Racing UK Handicap Hurdle, but it proved one jump too many for Hit The Highway who slipped on landing unseating Tom Cannon.
That opened up the race for Lady Karina to make a winning debut for the season, seeing off favourite Groundunderrepair.
Just six lined up for the day’s longest race, the Racing UK Jump To It Handicap Chase over an extended three miles and a furlong and they finished well strung out, with 6-1 shot Goosen Maverick making the most of his weight concession from market leader Dontminddboys to score by six lengths.
Dual winner Cuckoo’s Calling set the standard in the concluding National Hunt Flat Race but there was plenty of money for Buildmeupbuttercup who ran on strongly in the home straight to beat 50-1 shot Cassis De Reine.