All eyes were on the Neil King-trained Southway Star in the feature Heart Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at Plumpton yesterday but her bid to complete a five-timer was thwarted by Grape Tree Flame.
The Peter Bowen-trained, Sean Bowen-ridden six-year-old wasn’t winning out of turn following two respectable efforts at Ffos Las and Sedgefield, and she kept on well for a two-and-a-half-length success to reward punters at 10-1.
Peter Bowen said: “That makes the trip well worth it and it’s great to give Sean a winner on his return. The prize money for these mares’ races is good and we’ll have to sit down and plan where to go next.”
Ballyvoneen gave King and Southway Star’s owners, The Ridgeway Racing For Fun Partnership, something to smile about when winning the Tysers Handicap Chase.
A patient Mark Grant ride saw the 5-1 chance run out a comfortable four-and-a-half-length victor from Brunette’sonly, giving Grant his first winner of the season. It was a sixth course victory for the nine-year-old.
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Chris Pea Green was the star attraction in the Autumn Gala Novices’ Chase and justified cramped odds of 1-6 for Gary Moore. The 139-rated chaser, a highly respectable seventh in last season’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, never saw another rival and he made all to win by 26 lengths under Joshua Moore.
“If he didn’t win today I would have packed up as a trainer,” said Gary Moore.
Not many jockeys get the better of AP McCoy in a driving finish but Hold The Bucks (9-2) gave 7lb claimer Freddie Mitchell a day he will never forget.
Riding his first winner of the season and first as a conditional, Mitchell gave the Daniel Steele-trained eight-year-old a positive ride and he stayed on gamely to hold the McCoy-ridden Maria’s Choice. Mitchell said: “I never thought I’d beat Tony McCoy in a finish, but my horse was still pulling double coming into the straight and he quickened up well when I asked him to.”
Meanwhile Sgt Reckless, who created a good impression when making a successful debut over fences at Uttoxeter, is among ten entries for the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
Mick Channon’s charge is owned by the Radford family, whose Somersby won this race in 2009. Among possible rivals in this Grade One over two miles include the Paul Nicholls-trained duo of Irish Saint and Vibrato Valtat.
Irish trainer Gordon Elliott is also twin-handed with Arzembouy Premier and Clarcam. There is a third Irish entry in Alechi Inois from Willie Mullins’ stable, but he was pulled up in the Drinmore at Fairyhouse on Sunday.
Tom George has given God’s Own the entry but he is more likely to take on the seasoned two-mile chasers in the Tingle Creek.
Evan Williams has put in Court Minstrel, who has won both his races over the bigger obstacles in good style. The same applies to Philip Hobbs’ Dunraven Storm, who defeated Vibrato Valtat at Cheltenham last time. Tango De Juilley, trained by Venetia Williams, makes up the ten after winning well on his return at Kempton after 20 months off.
Alan King enjoyed a big winner with Medinas at Newbury over the weekend and The Tourard Man is napped to keep up stable momentum in the same silks in the £10 Free Bet At 32RedSport.com Novices’ Hurdle at Southwell today. Twice a winner in point-to-point company, he can build on a couple of promising first efforts under rules.
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