Improving Molly lands surprise Listed victory at Warwick

Molly Ollys Wishes bridged the gap from handicaps to Listed company to comfortably take the St Marys Land Warwick Mares’ Hurdle.

The seven-year-old made all the running and put the French Champion Hurdle winner in her place as she completed her hat-trick after wins in two handicaps.

Paul’s Saga tried to put it up to Dan Skelton’s mare at the business end, but Molly Ollys Wishes (7-2) pulled away to trounce the evens favourite by 19 lengths in the hands of Harry Skelton.

The trainer admitted some surprise at her triumph over the short-priced market leader.

“I don’t really know where that came from with her,” he said.

“She’s obviously a progressive horse this year that has gone on the upgrade – but I never expected that from her against Paul’s Saga.

“You could say Paul’s Saga probably needed the run, but take nothing away from our mare. She’s jumped great and picked up two out and has been quite authoritative in the end. I’m delighted with her.

“With her National Hunt-stamped pedigree, she’s really coming into her own.

“The French (horse) was far superior to the English on numbers, but she was so good at the end of the race.

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“Coming into this, I was hoping we’d pick up some black type. That was remarkable, really good.”

Molly Ollys Wishes was the final leg of a near 70-1 treble for the Skeltons, with the highlight being Allmankind in the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase.

Benny’s Oscar (9-1) set the ball rolling when making a winning debut under Rules in the Paddy Power Novices’ Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson’s Lecale’s Article was sent off the odds-on favourite on the back of an impressive performance at Newbury, while Philip Hobbs’ Stellar Magic had won twice at Taunton.

Benny’s Oscar clears the last to kickstart a Warwick treble for Dan and Harry Skelton
Benny’s Oscar clears the last to kickstart a Warwick treble for Dan and Harry Skelton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The latter dropped away tamely just after halfway, though, and Lecale’s Article made a couple of novicey errors on the way round.

He still had every chance approaching the second last, but Benny’s Oscar showed the better turn of foot and won by two and a quarter lengths.

The winner looks a snip at just £16,000.

Skelton said: “Fair play to Craig and Laura (Buckingham owners). They found him. Craig rang me up and said ‘I’ve found you one’. To be fair, he’s good at that. Cabot Cliffs is another good example.

“He’s found him under a rock for 16 grand!

“He’s a nice big horse and he’s going to make a chaser. I thought today we might not beat the first two in the market. We’ve not had him long, but (it was) a sweet little surprise.

“There’s no fluke bout it. He quickened up going to the last. It wasn’t as though he made the running and got away from them. Hopefully he’s got a good future.

“I’ll have to do some race planning!”

Cheek-pieces brought about a revival in the fortunes of Two For Gold (7-2 joint-favourite) as he bounced back to form in the Paddy Power Warwick Castle Handicap Chase under David Bass.

Kim Bailey’s charge dug deep to hold Aso by a neck, winning for the first time since he was successful in a Grade Two novice chase at this track 13 months ago.

“The cheek-pieces really helped him,” said Bailey.

“I always thought two and a half miles on soft ground was what he wanted. We could go for the Topham.”

Bass reached 50 winners for the campaign with an armchair ride on Kyntara (4-1), who trotted up by 21 lengths in the closing Paddy Power Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race to give the jockey and Bailey a double.

Orkan (17-2) ran his rivals ragged with a good front-running display in the Paddy Rewards Club Handicap Hurdle.

Jamie Hamilton and Orkan clear the last to win the Paddys Rewards Club Handicap Hurdle at Warwick
Jamie Hamilton and Orkan clear the last to win the Paddys Rewards Club Handicap Hurdle at Warwick (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Mark Walford-trained seven-year-old shrugged off the attentions of the favourite Song Of The Hunter to score by seven and a half lengths in the hands of Jamie Hamilton.

“I was very impressed – he jumped and travelled well,” said Hamilton.

“I kicked off the bend, and he picked up nicely. He’s a horse on the up.”

Ballymillsy (100-30 joint-favourite) capitalised on a mistake two out by Ballymagroarty Boy to take the From The Horses Mouth Podcast Handicap Hurdle over three and a quarter miles.

The five-year-old, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, stayed on stoutly under 3lb claimer Jordan Nailor to win by a length and a quarter on just his fourth hurdles start and on handicap debut.

“It was his first time over this trip. He’s been crying out for it – and he needed every yard,” said Nailor.

“I’ve had 41 winners in total now, and that’s 19 for the season. I’m lucky to have the support I have.”

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