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Molly Ollys Wishes claims stylish success on Wetherby return

Molly Ollys Wishes stamped her class on what looked a decent field in the bet365 Mares’ Hurdle at Wetherby.

Dan and Harry Skelton have enjoyed a good start to the season and this seven-year-old looks like having another good campaign.

A Listed winner last term, trainer Dan Skelton had entered her in the West Yorkshire Hurdle on the same card to take what he termed “the Roksana route”, after the recently retired top-class mare Skelton trained to win that race last season.

However, Skelton ultimately preferred to keep Molly Ollys Wishes to her own sex, even though the trip may have been short of her best, and with that in mind Harry Skelton kicked on before the turn for home.

In truth the race was soon over, with the 3-1 favourite coming home five and a half lengths clear of Miranda.

“That was brilliant, magic really. I just thought we’d try her over two (miles) because when I looked at the entries on Monday and saw that the West Yorkshire hurdle was filling up, I just thought she was going to have a really hard race on her first time out,” said Dan Skelton.

“She’s best just rolling on over two, you can get in a bit of a muddle when you try to restrict her. It just worked out really well, Harry’s given her a great ride.

“She was always going to Kempton on the 22nd for the Listed over three (miles), I don’t see any reason to change.

“We’ve always hoped she could go down the Roksana route, last year it actually suited her that Roksana was around because it was a year too soon and we couldn’t send her down it. She’s now ready for it.

“I can imagine her going to Kempton, we might try the Long Walk and then the Warfield at a Ascot. That’s her Gold Cup.”

Geryville absolutely bolted up on his British debut for Micky Hammond in the bet365 Handicap Chase.

Only five, he was dismissed in the betting and sent off a 40-1 chance in a field of 11.

He jumped like an old hand throughout for Alain Cawley, and scooted clear to win by 12 lengths.

“We’ve always liked him. Peter Jones, who sent him over from France, said he was a nice horse. He came over in June and we thought he’d do well over here,” said Hammond.

“We were hoping he’d run a nice race, the ground has been so firm that we haven’t even schooled him over a fence, but he’s jumped a French-style hurdle on a surface and he’s taken to it very well. He jumped a bit big early on but he can win again.”

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.

“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.”