NIGEL and Sam Twiston-Davies teamed up with Bally Braes to land the £20,000 G A Engineering Group Highland National Handicap Chase at Perth yesterday.
Sent off at 9-2, Bally Braes stayed on strongly from the last to beat 4-1 favourite Full Jack going away by two and a half lengths. Long-time leader What Up Woody was back in third with last year’s hero Bertie Milan a gallant fourth.
Twiston-Davies, recording his second win in the Perth marathon following Petite Margot in 2011, said: “It was Sam at his best and this horse is still a novice. He was under pressure turning in but we knew he stayed and it was a great effort by horse and jockey.”
Richard Johnson was in great form as he took the first three races for a 16-1 hat-trick on Tara Mist, Mountain King and Five O’Clock Tea.
Mountain King supplied Philip Hobbs with yet another seasonal century when taking the Turning Out Quality Handicap Chase under Johnson who was notching up his 150th winner of the campaign. Hobbs’ wife Sarah said: “He’s still young and learning but this horse is getting better all the time. It’s wonderful to reach 100 for the 11th time. Richard is a wonderful ambassador for the sport and it would be brilliant if he could be champion jockey this time next year.”
At Sandown, Frankie Dettori stole the show after riding a 617-1 four-timer – spearheaded by the scintillating performance of Jack Hobbs. It was very much a case of saving the best until last for the Italian jockey, with the John Gosden-trained three-year old (10-11 favourite) routing his rivals by 12 lengths in the concluding bet365 Handicap.
Following the victory, which also completed a treble on the day for Gosden, Ladbrokes cut Jack Hobbs to 10-1 for the Investec Derby at Epsom in June.
The win marked the second time the trainer and jockey had combined to good effect after Western Hymn (7-2) had earlier mastered his rivals in the bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes.
The Brian Meehan-trained Mutarakez (7-1) kickstarted Dettori’s halcyon day with victory in the bet365 Esher Cup.
Compatriot Marco Botti provided Dettori with his third winner on the card after Brandybend (8-1) claimed the Nordoff Robbins Willie Robertson Memorial Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.