Barrichello strikes to give McCain and Hughes another winner

Barrichello led his rivals a merry dance to provide the in-form combination of Donald McCain and Brian Hughes with another victory in the Betfair Weighed In Podcast Newton Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock.

Runner-up on his first five starts over obstacles last season, a summer wind operation appears to have made all the difference.

Following a 25-length success on his reappearance at Bangor last week, Barrichello was the 7-4 favourite to successfully step up to Listed class and was soon bowling along at the head of affairs.

Keen to put his mount’s experience to good use, Hughes kicked clear before the home turn and never looked in any real danger of being pegged back – with It’s Good To Laugh beaten just under five lengths into second.

McCain, who teamed up Hughes for a treble at Catterick on Friday, said of his latest winner: “We know what this race can be like sometimes and we decided to take a punt.

“The wind operation has obviously made a big difference and he’s another 12 months older.

“We were going to go chasing with him, but we’ll just have to see now.”

He added: “He probably wants further and he probably wants riding a bit more sensibly, but today was the day to ride him like we did on a quick track and it worked out well.”

General view of the spectators in the stands during the Betfair Chase Day at Haydock
General view of the spectators in the stands during the Betfair Chase Day at Haydock (Simon Marper/PA)

The Oliver Sherwood-trained Jersey Bean came out on top in a pulsating climax to the Because We’re Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Chase.

Furius De Ciergues gave a bold sight for much of the three-and-a-half-mile journey, but while he refused to to down without a fight, 16-1 shot Jersey Bean won a titanic tussle by half a length.

“It was a good performance and a big thanks goes to Oliver and Brendan Powell, who has been riding him over fences,” said winning jockey Jonathan Burke.

“He just told me to be very positive on him and to be fair to the horse, he answered every call.

“He picked up off the bend and then missed the ditch and I thought ‘that’s him cooked’, but when he got into battle he really rallied – his attitude was top class.”

Tommy’s Oscar (100-30) turned what looked a competitive Betfair Pays Tribute To Andy Stewart Handicap Hurdle into a procession under last season’s champion conditional Danny McMenamin.

A beaten favourite on his last two starts at Wetherby and Carlisle, Ann Hamilton’s charge rewarded those who kept the faith with a thoroughly impressive 10-length verdict over Thibault.

Hamilton’s husband and assistant Ian said: “That was just the job – he was too impressive really!

“He didn’t get the trip over two and a half (miles) at Carlisle. It was soft ground and he had 11st 12lb on his back. It was different today as this is a lot easier track on better ground.

“He’s a chaser really, but I always thought there was a decent hurdle race in him first.”

Strictlyadancer at Cheltenham
Strictlyadancer at Cheltenham (David Davies/PA)

Strictlyadancer completed his hat-trick in the concluding My Odds Boost On Betfair Handicap Chase.

A winner at Cheltenham in October and again last week, the Christian Williams-trained 7-4 favourite benefited from a well-judged ride from Jack Tudor to add to his tally.

Williams said: “He’s in good heart and probably idles a bit in front, so we’re maybe lucky he keeps a little bit up his sleeve.

“This is such a sharp track and it wouldn’t be ideal for this horse, but his jumping keeps him in it.

“I’m not sure where we’ll go next – we’ll have to check Newbury next week!”

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