Bowtogreatness beginning to live up to his name

Bowtogreatness could be heading for the big time following a dominant performance to win the Tracey And Mark’s 60th Birthday Celebrations Novices’ Hurdle at Leicester.

Trainer Ben Pauling has given the six-year-old, co-owned by his wife Sophie and football personality Harry Redknapp, an entry in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham.

That could be on the agenda after the six-year-old followed up a first win over hurdles at Ffos Las last month in tremendous fashion under Kielan Woods.

The 9-2 shot galloped his rivals into the ground as he powered home by eight and a half lengths from Go Steady, the 2-1 favourite.

“He’s a nice horse. We liked him last year but it took a while for him to come to himself but this year he’s been a different animal,” said Pauling.

“That was good as he was quite keen early doors but Kielan said he was relentless. We gave him an entry today for the Albert Bartlett as I think he just gallops and jumps. We might go there or find something easier but he’s a nice horse with a big future.

“He’s not looking like he’s short of ability. I think he might run again before then as he needs racing, so he’ll probably have one more run in between.

“Unfortunately Harry could not make it today but he’ll be on the phone very shortly, no doubt.”

Borders trainer Paul Robson travelled in style by helicopter with his owners and got the dream result when Just Don’t Know took the the Bet At Novices’ Handicap Chase.

The 4-1 favourite ran out the winner by one and three-quarter lengths from Eairsidh under Craig Nichol to give Robson a second career success in his first season.

“We knew it was a trek to come down but there aren’t many 0-105s in the north over two and a half miles for him so we thought we’d bring him here,” said Robson.

Just Don’t Know on his way to victory
Just Don’t Know on his way to victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I was planning on driving down but the owner decided they all wanted to fly down. We here in about an hour. I wouldn’t mind travelling in style like every day.

“It’s my first runner here and my second overall. I’ve held the licence now for six months. My father (Adam) had it before then as a permit trainer. I went through all the modules for a full licence.

“I’d had a great background in racing with people like my dad and Nicky Richards. It’s lovely to use that experience.”

Archie Bellamy after riding Checkitsme to victory
Archie Bellamy after riding Checkitsme to victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

Checkitsme (16-1) came out on top in a thrilling three-way photo finish to the Next Meeting @leicesterraces Wednesday 2nd February ‘Hands & Heels’ Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

The Milton Harris-trained five-year-old came from last place at the top of the straight to lead before the penultimate obstacle but she hung to the left and almost gave the race away.

Jockey Archie Bellamy, 23, back from an 18-month spell in Australia, said: “She had no form on soft ground but Milton rang me this morning and said he fancied her going into the race.

“She didn’t make life easy for herself. She hung like a gate over the last two and tried to run out. She probably lost five lengths so should have won by five or six.”

Xcitations lands the Join Racing TV Now Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at Leicester
Xcitations lands the Join Racing TV Now Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at Leicester (Mike Egerton/PA)

Pam Sly’s Xcitations (9-4) led all the way to beat two rivals in the Join Racing TV Now Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Sly said: “I think he enjoyed it, doing his own thing out there. He leads schooling at home. We nearly didn’t run because he wasn’t sound on the concrete but he was fine on the grass.

“He got a bruised sole at Doncaster which is why he hadn’t run since then, but we’ve X-rayed everything and all is fine so who knows what it is. He’s a really nice horse and comes from a good family.”

Kim Bailey’s Mr Grey Sky (7-2) won for the first time since December 2018 when opening his account over jumps in the Every Race Live On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle.

“We ran him over two and a half miles at Lingfield and he didn’t get the trip. He’s got very good form in bumpers on soft ground and two miles is where we wanted to go,” said Bailey.

“He’s a big strong chasing type and he’s had a lot of issues so I’m really pleased for the owner – it’s taken time for him to win again.”

Tony Carroll’s Prairie Town sprang a 40-1 surprise in the Peter & Janine Life Anniversary Handicap Chase. while Walk In Clover (2-9 favourite) made all to land the odds by 20 lengths in the hands of Harry Skelton for his brother Dan in the British Stallion Studs EBF Mares’ ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.

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