Allmankind helps Harry Skelton retain title-race advantage

Harry Skelton secured another valuable winner in the jockeys’ title race as he guided Allmankind to a runaway success in the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Novices’ Chase at Ayr.

The Dan Skelton-trained five-year-old had already contributed three victories to the rider’s tally this season, having won twice at Warwick – including the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase – and claimed Grade One glory in the the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown.

He met with defeat for the first time over fences when fourth behind the brilliant Shishkin in the Arkle at Cheltenham last month, but was the 11-10 favourite to get back on the winning trail in Scotland.

Adopting his customary pacesetting role, Allmankind did not entirely convince in the jumping department, but was ultimately far too good for his three rivals, passing the post with 19 lengths in hand.

“He’s been a brilliant horse all season for us,” said Dan Skelton.

“He didn’t jump his best today, but he’s learnt a bit – and I think he’s only jumped like that because he’s got a bit lazy as the season has dragged on and he isn’t quite as fresh as he was at the start.

“I’ve got absolutely no concerns about his jumping going forward and he’s proved today he stays two and a half (miles).

Allmankind clears a fence at Ayr
Allmankind clears a fence at Ayr (Jeff Holmes/PA)

“He’s had a magical year. He’s taken on a lot of different horses as a novice, at different levels and over different distances, and he’s proven better than most of them.

“Moving into open company next season as an older horse, you’ve got to be hopeful that he’ll be able to compete.”

Reigning champion Brian Hughes had to wait until the final race to register his first winner of the two-day meeting when Vina Ardanza (15-2) won the closing bumper.

Skelton leads by 146 winners to 140, ahead of the conclusion of the season at Sandown on Saturday.

Theinval is likely to be heading for a well-earned retirement after winning the Scotty Brand Handicap Chase for a second time.

Theinval on his way to victory
Theinval on his way to victory (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Victorious in the 2018 renewal of the Listed contest, Nicky Henderson’s 11-year-old was a 6-1 shot to repeat the feat off the back of finishing fifth at the track on Friday.

Hot favourite King D’Argent looked likely to deliver early in the home straight, but an untidy leap at the final obstacle opened the door for Theinval, who finished strongly under Nico de Boinville to prevail by three lengths.

Henderson said: “He’s been kept in training all year for this (to run twice at Ayr) and that was fantastic.

“It’s an amazing thing. We discovered it about four years ago – he runs on the Friday and invariably gets beaten and then wins on the Saturday!

“I couldn’t work out what was going to happen this year because they suddenly gave him a day off in between! I wasn’t sure if that was going to be in his favour or not.

“He’s been an absolute star and I suspect we’ll retire him now. We were going to retire him earlier in the year, but I asked the owners to keep him going for Ayr.

“Sandy (Orr, owner) is a Scotsman, so it’s a great result and probably a nice way to say ‘well done old boy and thank you’.”

One More Fleurie continued a good run of form
One More Fleurie continued a good run of form (Jeff Holmes/PA)

One More Fleurie struck gold in the CPMS Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase for trainer Ian Williams and conditional jockey Charlie Todd.

The 11-1 winner was scoring for a fourth time from his last five starts, with his only defeat coming when falling at Fakenham last month.

Sandy Thomson’s Bass Rock (17-2) impressed in the Play Coral ‘Racing-Super-Series’ For Free Handicap Hurdle under Danny McMenamin, while Floating Rock (4-1) lunged late to land the Coral “Fail To Finish” Free Bets ‘Hands & Heels’ Finale Handicap Hurdle for Mark Walford and Nathan Brennan.

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