Horse Racing: Farrelly takes chance with £20k Master

WITH the cold weather biting hard, racing on turf in Britain at the weekend was restricted to Plumpton's popular Sussex National fixture.

It was a welcome respite for National Hunt enthusiasts, and conditional jockey Johnny Farrelly made the most of a suspension to David Pipe's stable jockey Tom Scudamore to display his talents.

The 3lb claimer took the 20,000 feature on Master Overseer, who is now unbeaten in three handicaps this season, after a ding-ding duel with the favourite Tarquinius.

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"With Tom suspended, it fills you with confidence when they give you the rides and I'm really grateful to the owners and Mr Pipe," said Farrelly.

Recent French purchase Notus De La Tour sparked the brace with victory in the At The Races Sky 415 Novices' Hurdle to stake claim for the Triumph Hurdle.

Pipe said: "I was impressed with him as the second is a decent horse. We've liked him from day one and he's confirmed it.

"They quickened up turning out of the back straight and I'm sure you'll see lots more of him."

In Ireland, Cork managed to stage their Saturday meeting after surviving an inspection, although racing was delayed while last minute work was carried out on the track to make sure it was safe and some trainers decided not to run.

The headline horse was Kauto Relko, a half-brother to Kauto Star and owned by Graham Roach of Viking Flagship fame.

He had won impressively last time out and inevitably there was plenty of talk about him prior to his run in the McCarthy Insurance Group Hurdle.

However, despite cutting out the running for most of the race he was a spent force when he came down at the second-last but lives to fight another day.

The race was won by Jessica Harrington's Bostons Angel, sent off the outsider of three at 4-1.

Cheltenham on New Year's Day was another meeting that needed to survive an inspection – not just one but three.

The last of those came after the first race but over 20,000 people gathered at Prestbury Park were relieved the decision was taken to go ahead after lengthy deliberations.

Jonjo O'Neill's Can't Buy Time gave Tony McCoy a nice winner in the Handicap Chase and will have the Grand National as his long-term again as the perennial champion searches for his first victory in the race.