Warwick Classic Chase Day Review 2020

Spectacular Shots As The Runners In The Grade Two Hurdle Clear The Last (JTW Equine Images)

By Samantha

This Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend the Classic Chase Raceday at Warwick.

I visited with my family and fellow Rein It In writer Niamh. It was great to see Niamh – just shows the power of racing bringing two racehorse-mad girls, who wouldn’t have met otherwise, together! It was also great to meet Tom and Jack Williams who kindly supply us with all our photos for our articles. They got some excellent shots of the wonderful equine athletes in all of their glory!

Warwick is about forty five minutes from where I live. There was a bit of a wind blowing across the course and the sky was overcast with a few droplets of rain falling through the day. That couldn’t dull our spirits though. There was a good sized, passionate crowd to see the seven race card.

Megalodon and Paddy Brennan (JTW Equine Images)

The first race was the Join Racing TV Now Novices’ Handicap Hurdle. This class four event had two previous NH winners in the line up and Megalodon was driven out by Paddy Brennan to score for Paul Henderson. The horse was a 14/1 shot and his best previous run was a five length second to Emitom. My younger brother was delighted that this horse won as he’s a big fan of megalodon sharks and had selected him before the race. Over the loudspeaker, one of the connections were saying how this horse had struggled with injuries and they seemed over the moon that he had finally got his head in front.

Good Jump From Joke Dancer As The Favourite, Rough Night, Gets Too Low (JTW Equine Images)

Next was the Project Management Services Oxford Ltd Edward Courage Cup. This was a handicap steeple chase over two miles. The 5/4 favourite was Rough Night under Kielan Woods. He led for most of the way but an awful blunder at the last (shown in the picture above) caused him to give the advantage to Joke Dancer, who was coming with a strong challenge. In the end, Joke Dancer won by eight lengths, going away, for Sue Smith and owner Mrs Aafake Clarke. This gelding was successful over hurdles and he could shape to be a good chaser. I wouldn’t give up on Rough Night though either.

The Early Stages Of The Garde Two Novices Chase. The Eventual Winner Two For Gold Has The Noseband. (JTW Equine Images)

The ITV cameras kicked up at one thirty and the first race they showed was the McCoy Contractors 2020 Construction News-Awards Finalist Hampton Novices Chase. Recently, this race has been upped in grade from a listed to a grade two and viewers were treated to a wonderful battle up the straight. Two For Gold put in a bold bid from the front and ended up getting threatened by Hold The Note at two out. Both horses jumped the last two well and, when they passed us about three quarters of a furlong to go, Hold The Note was just edging ahead. But Two For Gold wouldn’t go down without a fight! He was so brave and proved his staying ability and ended up nudging a half length clear at the line. Every brave horse needs a brave jockey and David Bass gave him an absolute peach of a ride. One of the owners with a share in him sadly passed away recently so it was an emotional win for all.

Next was the grade two Ballymore Leamington Novices Hurdle and there was drama from the get-go as Harry Senior decided to jump one of the railings as if he was a showjumper at Olympia. Sadly, he didn’t pick his feet up sufficiently and he unshipped Robbie Power. Seemingly fine, he gallivanted down to the start where he was eventually caught and Robbie got back on. We moved to the busier area near the winning post to watch this race and we had no idea what was going on. We could only see footage of him running loose then the announcement that he had been withdrawn on vets advice. There was a 25p Rule 4 in every pound. Shan Blue, the favourite, led for most of the way, a tactic Harry Skelton deployed on a few horses that day. He got headed by Décor Irlandais and Mossy Fen after the turn for home. Both were a bit novice but they battled strongly and I think there was a significant amount of money for Décor Irlandais as many people around us were cheering him home. Sam Twiston-Davies managed partner Mossy Fen to a three quarter length victory. Owners Carl Hinchy and Mark Scott are having a really exciting time of it lately, especially as they own Riders Onthe Storm who has a very good chance in the Ryanair. I’d say the first two in this race are smart and have big futures. They might not be up to the caliber to feature at the Festival though.

Kimberlite Candy Puts In A Big Leap (JTW Equine Images)

Now it was time for the feature contest of the day – the McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase. The race wouldn’t have at all been as good as it was if it wasn’t for Captain Chaos and Harry Skelton. They were clear for a lot of the race and set a good gallop in pretty sticky conditions. At the turn for home, Kimberlite Candy and The Conditional loomed up behind him but only Kimberlite Candy got past. Kimberlite Candy surged forward away from the last to win by ten lengths. It was excellent to see this horse win for Tom Lacey and Richie McLernon. McLernon is an extremely talented jockey and deserves to be in the spotlight. Last time out, this horse had only got beaten two and a half lengths in the Becher Chase by Walk In The Mill. He handled the step up to three miles five really smartly and I’d say he’s a live chance for the Grand National. He’s been hiked up 10lbs to a mark of 150. That would put him middle of the field based on last season’s weights. He’s a 25/1 shot for the Aintree showpiece.

Of the rest, The Conditional never looked comfortable after a nasty blunder at the sixteenth and he faded after the last when Kimberlite Candy and Captain Chaos kicked on. I overheard his jockey Brenda Powell explaining that the horse found the ground a bit to holding. Eleven year old Petite Power thoroughly stayed the trip when he stayed on to grab third from The Conditional under promising amateur jockey Liam Harrison. Connections of Le Breuil have had Grand National aspirations for this horse since when he won the 2019 National Hunt Chase. He’s been dropped 3lbs from 148 to 145 for his fifth place finish. That mark could definitely get him in to the race at the lower end of the handicap.

Doc Penfro Before He Threw Away His Chance To Silver Sheen (Green Colours) (JTW Equine Images)

Another race where one eye was on the handicap was the penultimate race on the card, the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle. In the line up, there was three Irish runners – Gordon Elliot had last year’s Cheltenham Final winner Sire De Berlais and Its All Guesswork and Jessie Harrington was represented by Silver Sheen. The latter was prominent for a lot of the way and he lead from the fourth. He put in a chancey jump at the last and handed the advantage to Doc Penfro. This horse hung badly left under Ben Jones down from the last which allowed Silver Sheen to grab the win by a head under Robbie Power. This was a good end to the day for the jockey who’d been unshipped twice, by Harry Senior and then Darlac in the feature race. He praised Jessica Harrington for her training of this horse as he had only raced over hurdles three times, all of which he has now won.

The six qualifiers were as follows – 1st Silver Sheen (raised 9lbs to 133 (Irish Handicap Mark) ), 2nd Doc Penfro (raised 5lbs to 134), 3rd One For The Team (raised 2lbs to 130), 4th Sire Du Berlais (Unchanged) , 5th Stoney Mountain (unchanged) and 6th Igor (dropped 1lbs to 131). Bottom weight went off 134 last season and top weight was 148. As a guess, this means that Silver Sheen will be one of the bottom weight and may have to run again to bump his mark up enough to qualify. Sire Du Berlais’ official British rating before the race was 152 so I’d assume he’s likely to be off the top weight in the 2020 renewal. An interesting thing to note was that Sire Du Berlais raced very lazily. He took a lot of stoking up to canter down to post and Aidan Coleman earned his fee.

Here Comes McCoy In The Noseband Made Easy Work Of His Debut. (JTW Equine Images)

The final race of the day was an eighteen runner NH Flat Race named the Cheltenham And South West Syndicate ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race. As the name suggests, none of these horses had ever seen the racetrack before. So, as a result of this and the rising wind speeds, the prelims were utter carnage. Midnight Jewel got loose at one point and went cantering to the other side of the parade ring – right where we were stood – and crashed into a few other runners. The stable staff and jockeys did an excellent job to get all the horses out onto the track in one piece. On the way back, there was one horse who was dominant. That was Here Comes McCoy. This son of Dylan Thomas went round the inside under Aidan Coleman but got short of room at four furlongs out. However, Coleman negotiated a clear passage and by two furlongs out he kicked clear in a really attractive style. He definitely has a huge future and is one to keep on the right side of. It was also excellent for the owners, who sponsored a lot of the card (McCoy Contractors), to have a winner on the day.

Overall, despite lacking in the winners department, we all had an excellent day. The facilities at Warwick are always very good and I like it because you can see everything! We will definitely be back soon!

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