Highly-promising Demachine motors to Ascot victory

Kerry Lee is refusing to get carried away with Demachine despite the promising six-year-old maintaining his unbeaten record over fences at Ascot.

The 11-4 chance ran out a three-and-three-quarter-length victor in the Play The Coral “Racing Super Series” Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase – and the hope is that one day he will be taking his chance in much loftier company.

Lee said: “Fences have really been the making of him. I minded him last year and I called him the big green machine at home last season. Lovely Herefordshire grass has done him the world of good over the summer.

“He has grown and matured and we have a right nice novice chaser on our hands. Richard (Patrick) said he did make a mistake at the first one down the hill second time round, but it made him stop and think about things – it did him the world of good.

“We will keep him in novice company this season and maybe a Welsh National or Ladbrokes Trophy next year.

“For now we will enjoy the moment.”

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Bridget Andrews demonstrated nerves of steel after delivering the Dan Skelton-trained Robin Gold (4-1) with a well-timed run to get up almost on the line and claim the Veolia Mares’ Handicap Hurdle by half a length.

Assistant trainer Tom Messenger said: “Bridget gave her an unbelievable ride. She won on her a couple of starts ago at Lingfield and knows that she doesn’t do a lot in front and that was the case the last day when she got beat.

“Dan and Bridget were adamant about not getting there too soon, but to ride a mare like that takes a lot of confidence. She is progressing nicely and obviously handles that ground as well.

“The tongue tie has helped and we’ve done a few different things at home. Sometimes these fillies take a little bit of working out.”

Shang Tang enjoyed a confidence-boosting success
Shang Tang enjoyed a confidence-boosting success (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Shang Tang (9-4) opened his account at the ninth time of asking when taking a step up in trip in his stride.

Out of luck in his three bumpers and five previous hurdle starts, the Emma Lavelle-trained six-year-old finally struck gold on his first attempt over the extended two-mile-five-furlong trip of the Coral “Fail To Finish” Free Bet Novices’ Hurdle.

Lavelle said: “He has always been a bit immature. He left home in the horse box facing forwards and he arrived at the racecourse facing backwards. That’s kind of him.

“He was jumping the hurdles so fast I was thinking maybe I should have gone back to two miles, but actually he is a strong-travelling, great-jumping horse that seems to stay and that opens up a world of opportunity for him.

“He had run some really nice races and if you look at his form there are bits of it that are decent, but it just hasn’t happened for him. I think everyone will have gained confidence today.”

James Bowen guides Wonderwall to victory
James Bowen guides Wonderwall to victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Richard Spencer-trained Wonderwall earned Champion Bumper quotes in taking the Coral-sponsored finale as the 3-1 joint-favourite.

Winning rider James Bowen said: “We think a bit of him and he showed it today, Richard has done a great job with him.

“He’s been smart since the day he came. I’ve sat on him at home and he gives me a lovely feel.”

Spencer added: “There’s a Listed race back here, but we’ll just see how he comes out of it. There’s one date in March we want to get to if we can.”

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