Tag Archive for: Southwell

Five meetings cancelled due to extreme heat warning

The British Horseracing Authority has announced the cancellation of five meetings on Monday and Tuesday due to the forecast for extreme high temperatures.

Scheduled fixtures at Beverley and Windsor on Monday have been called off, as have Tuesday’s all-weather cards at Chelmsford and Wolverhampton, plus Southwell’s jumps fixture.

The decision comes after the Met Office issued a ‘Red’ extreme heat warning, with the affected courses all falling either within the warning area or situated nearby.

Richard Wayman, the BHA’s chief operating officer, said: “The BHA’s number one priority in the staging of any meeting is the wellbeing of all involved, human and equine. Following the issuing of the first ever extreme heat warning by the Met Office, we are taking sensible precautions and have made a decision as soon as possible in order to provide certainly for those impacted.”

Mark Spincer, managing director of ARC’s Racing Division and responsible for Windsor, Southwell and Wolverhampton, said: “We fully support the decision to abandon the fixtures scheduled to take place on our racecourses on Monday and Tuesday.

“We have been in close dialogue with colleagues at the BHA throughout this period of warmer weather and have been operating with a number of resources in place to assist horses and people working on our racecourses.

“Whilst we had taken steps to mitigate against the higher temperatures initially forecast for Monday and Tuesday, including moving Southwell’s race times to earlier in the day, the latest updates from the Met Office and the alerts issued this morning made it clear that it was within the best interests of all concerned to abandon these fixtures.

“We will be in touch with all customers who had bookings to these race meetings shortly, and our thanks goes to the BHA team for acting swiftly in changing circumstances.”

The BHA have decided to call off several fixtures
The BHA have decided to call off several fixtures (John Stillwell/PA)

Neil Graham, director of racing at Chelmsford, said: “As ever, our primary concern is for the welfare of everyone visiting Chelmsford City Racecourse, both human and equine, and, therefore, we fully support the BHA in making this decision in such extreme conditions.”

The BHA said that while the abandoned fixtures will not be rescheduled, it will review their race programmes and seek to add races in the coming days where necessary.

Racing in Britain is still set to take place at Ayr and Cartmel on Monday and at Musselburgh on Tuesday, with temperatures expected to be lower in Cumbria and in Scotland.

The BHA will, however, continue to monitor forecasts and any further alterations to the race programme will be announced in due course.

Tuesday’s Southwell card set for 10am start due to heatwave

Tuesday’s fixture at Southwell has been brought forward by three hours due to the forecasted extreme heat.

The meeting had been scheduled to begin at 1pm but with temperatures expected to reach 37C by mid-afternoon, the decision has been taken to move the timings.

The first race will get under way at 10am with the final race at 1.05pm.

Tuesday afternoon’s fixture at Musselburgh will go ahead as planned with temperatures anticipated to be lower in Scotland, while Tuesday evening’s meetings at Chelmsford and Wolverhampton, plus Monday’s card at Windsor, have not been changed although the British Horseracing Authority will continue to monitor forecasts.

BHA veterinary officer Sally Taylor said: “The BHA has continued to work with courses scheduled to race during the hottest days of the heatwave being experienced in Britain presently and has taken proactive steps where necessary to ensure the welfare of all equine and human participants.

“Usual hot weather provisions will be in place at all courses throughout this period, with sufficient cooling facilities and regular monitoring across all meetings.”

Bath meetings moved to Southwell

Bath’s two remaining fixtures in July have been switched to Southwell due to concerns about the ground.

The track raced on Monday on ground that was described as firm and with the current spell of dry weather forecast to continue for the next few weeks, the British Horseracing Authority and ARC, which runs both courses, feel a venue switch is prudent.

The race programme for the July 20 card will remain the same, while the only amendment to the programme for July 29 is that the two races scheduled to be run over 10 furlongs will take place over 11 furlongs, as Southwell does not have a 10-furlong start.

Mark Spincer, managing director of ARC’s racing division, said: “With another two weeks of dry and sunny conditions forecast, we are grateful to the BHA for working with us to transfer the two remaining fixtures at Bath in July to Southwell.

“This decision has been taken in the interest of participants, given Bath’s unique inability to water, and the likelihood of further drying of the racing surface.”

Haggas eyeing bigger targets for Southwell victor My Oberon

William Haggas’ My Oberon has either Dubai or All-Weather Finals Day in his sights after victory in the MansionBet Proud Partners Of The AWC Conditions Stakes at Southwell.

The son of Dubawi contested a string of Group races last season, winning the Earl Of Sefton at Newmarket on his seasonal debut, coming home fourth in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and ending the term with a placed run in the Superior Mile.

Now gelded and running for the first time in since early September, the bay started as the 2-1 favourite but was required to dig slightly deeper than anticipated when challenged by both Diderot and Ayr Harbour in the latter stages of the race.

Despite carrying a 5lb penalty, My Oberon’s ability prevailed and he was ultimately able to produce a half-length success under Tom Marquand.

Haggas said: “I don’t know the merit of the form and My Oberon was a bit rusty, but he put his head down at the end and won.

“He might be a horse who goes well fresh too, so we will have to freshen him up before his next start. He won’t want a lot of training now – he will need a bit of nourishment, not punishment.

“If he gets invited, he will go to Dubai next, but he is 113-rated and did not get invited to Saudi Arabia, so it is not a certainty.

“We are going to run another horse rated higher than him in the Dubai Turf and whether he gets into the Dubai World Cup, I am not sure about that. Otherwise, Newcastle will be the agenda.”

Tom Marquand was pleased to get a win with My Oberon
Tom Marquand was pleased to get a win with My Oberon (Mike Egerton/PA)

Marquand said: “I was informed walking into the paddock that My Oberon is the highest-rated Flat horse to have run at Southwell, so he was probably due to win.

“It is great to get a win on his reappearance and hopefully it will give him a bit of confidence.

“He had to do it the hard way because I dropped him in a bit further back than I had planned to. The penalty obviously made life tougher, but his class prevailed.”

Glass half full for Lawes after Southwell success

Ballyglass looks an exciting prospect for Toby Lawes to go to war with judged on an excellent British debut at Southwell.

The Montmartre gelding was placed on each of his three starts in Ireland and the form could hardly have worked out better – finishing third behind subsequent maiden hurdle winners Bronn and Howyabud at Ballinrobe and runner-up at Roscommon to The Big Doyen, who has since sluiced in at Punchestown.

The five-year-old had since changed hands for £60,000 at the Tattersalls sale at Cheltenham in November, which appears excellent value judged on his performance in the Midlands.

Lawes said: “I’m absolutely delighted. He’s a real nice type and very exciting for the future.

“He’s still quite a raw type who has got quite a bit of maturing to do, so I’m really pleased with that performance today.”

Tom O’Brien steered Ballyglass to victory
Tom O’Brien steered Ballyglass to victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

Given his impressive credentials, it was no surprise to see Ballyglass sent off the 3-1 favourite for the Off The Fence On youtube.com/attheraces Open Maiden NH Flat Race.

Tom O’Brien’s mount eased to the lead over a furlong out and was ultimately good value for the winning margin of three and a quarter lengths over Ohnodonttakemehome.

“We were quite lucky that we bought him two days before The Big Doyen went and won at Punchestown. We probably wouldn’t have been able to afford him if he’d gone to the sales after that,” Lawes added.

“Sam Curling, who trained him in Ireland, told me he wrapped him up in cotton wool between his last run and the sale, so when we got him his fitness wasn’t quite there.

“We’ve brought him back up and with every bit of work we’ve done with him, he’s made a step forward every time. He went nicely in his last piece of work.”

Ballyglass is likely to be stepped up in class on his next start, with Newbury on February 12 a potential next port of call.

However, Lawes is not keen on a tilt at the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

He said: “There’s a Listed bumper at Newbury, but we’ll just see how he comes out of the race.

“In an ideal world you’d probably go to Newbury and then Aintree (in April), but the way the conditions are we can’t do both as he’s already run in four bumpers.

“If he wanted to have another two races one of them would probably have to be the Champion Bumper and that’s not really a race I want to take him to.

“There’s no hurry as this guy’s life is clearly ahead of him – he’s a proper Saturday chaser in the making.”

Signal Point (left) was the first of two winners for the Skeltons
Signal Point (left) was the first of two winners for the Skeltons (Tim Goode/PA)

Elsewhere on the card brothers Dan and Harry Skelton teamed up to complete a double.

Signal Point justified even-money favouritism with a half-length verdict in the Free Replays On attheraces.com Mares’ ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle.

Her stablemate Colonel Manderson (13-8) also struck gold as the market leader in the Read Kevin Blake On attheraces.com Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, with eight and a half lengths the margin of victory.

Fanshawe praises Southwell surface as Viola takes Winter Oaks Trial win

James Fanshawe hailed the change of surface “a great move” for Southwell after seeing Viola claim the feature event at the track’s first meeting run on Tapeta on Tuesday.

Fibresand had been in place at the Nottinghamshire venue since 1989, but that was removed following racing on August 15 and replaced with the new surface.

Multiple Group One-winning trainer Fanshawe views the switch as a huge positive.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s been a great move. The track is obviously going to take a bit of settling in, but for Southwell to have invested in a new surface is absolutely great.

“It’s a lot closer for us than some of the other Tapeta tracks. I haven’t got that many to run on the all-weather, but I’ll definitely be having some runners here.

“It’s not just the surface – it’s a very well laid out track with the surface as well.”

With a total prize fund of £40,000 up for grabs, a field of seven runners went to post for the Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Winter Oaks Trial Fillies’ Handicap.

Roger Varian’s Timeless Soul was the 3-1 favourite, while Ed Dunlop saddled Virgin Snow – a daughter of his brilliant racemare Snow Fairy.

The Mark Johnston-trained Alba Rose, a half-sister to Gold Cup winner Subjectivist and high-class stablemate Sir Ron Priestley, also faced the starter – but it was the Fanshawe runner that prevailed.

Ridden by Daniel Muscutt, Viola was a 9-2 chance off the back of finishing third in Listed company at Lingfield in October and knuckled down to see off Alba Rose by a length and three-quarters.

The winner could now be targeted at the Coral Winter Oaks at Lingfield in January, although Fanshawe admits a drop back in distance from a mile and a half to a mile and a quarter might not be ideal.

He added: “It’s always difficult to know where you are with fillies at this time of year because they should be hibernating, but she’s really tough this filly.

“She’s been very consistent and obviously enjoyed the surface tonight. It was a good prize.

“She’s got a bit of class, so we’ll just have to see how she is. She’s got a good record round Lingfield, but ideally she wants a mile and a half or a mile and six – she stays.”

Clive Cox struck gold with Fernando Rah
Clive Cox struck gold with Fernando Rah (John Walton/PA)

Clive Cox was delighted to see Fernando Rah get back on the winning trail in the £30,000 #betyourway At Betway Handicap.

A son of the trainer’s top-class sprinter Lethal Force, the three-year-old claimed back-to-back novice victories in July and had been placed twice since in handicap company.

Cox trained just a handful of runners on the Fibresand at Southwell, but hopes to be a more regular visitor after seeing Fernando Rah justify 4-1 favouritism with a three-length success under John Fahy.

He said: “I’m over the moon. He’s always promised to be a good horse.

“We’ve had to tweak a few things as he’s had issues with the stalls. This will do him the world of good from a confidence point of view and he could be an exciting prospect over the winter.

“I’m really excited about having runners at Southwell and I’m delighted to get a winner there tonight, especially with the prize-money that’s offer, which makes a big difference.”

Kieran Shoemark was full of praise for the track after winning the opening race aboard the Charlie Hills-trained Carausius (17-2).

He said: “The surface feels very new, which obviously it is, and I think it’s going to need a bit of time to bed in. We rode it like the old Southwell – we got racing very early and it was a slog home.

“I think it’s got the potential to be one of top all-weather tracks in the country, especially the structure of the racecourse – a nice, big, galloping track.

“I just think we need to give it a little bit of time.”

Southwell ready for new Tapeta era

A new era dawns at Southwell tomorrow when the Nottinghamshire track unveils its Tapeta surface.

Fibresand, which had been in use since 1989, was removed following racing there on August 15 and replaced with the new surface.

With that process completed successfully, officials are excited at finally seeing the new project come to fruition.

“It’s been a long few months since August and the start of the project. The whole team is excited and looking forward to tomorrow and the future with the new surface,” said clerk of the course Paul Barker.

“I’d like to thank everybody, and all the owners and trainers, for supporting the opening day. It’s good quality and very good in numbers as well and something for everybody.

“There’s a good quality class two, a real high-quality class three and the usual class five and six and races for the young horses as well which is good. It’s a very good balanced programme for the opening day.”

The feature race on an eight-race programme is the £40,000 Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Winter Oaks Trial for which seven were declared.

Trainer Ed Dunlop is looking forward to getting Virgin Snow back into action after more than a year off the track though she has to give weight to all her rivals.

Trainer Ed Dunlop runs Virgin Snow in the feature race as Tapeta is introduced at Southwell
Trainer Ed Dunlop runs Virgin Snow in the feature race as Tapeta is introduced at Southwell (Mike Egerton/Jockey Club)

The daughter of six-time Group One winner Snow Fairy has been absent since finishing third in the Group Three Pride Stakes at Newmarket in October 2020.

“Virgin Snow has not run for a very long time due to a setback and on top of that she has to give a lot of weight away,” said Dunlop.

“This is very much a starting point and we are hoping to continue forward to the new race at Lingfield in the new year.

“She had some smart form as a three-year-old and it will be great to get her back on the track, but I expect her to improve a lot for the run.”

Regarding the new Tapeta surface, Dunlop added: “I am very pro the switch from Fibresand to Tapeta.

“Southwell is a fantastic racecourse – with a great layout – and I expect the racing there going forward will be well-subscribed and very popular.”

Punter scoops £281,000 pay-out at Southwell for just £7 stake

A punter taking a close interest in the jumping action at Southwell on Tuesday was rewarded with a mammoth pay-out of over £281,000 for a total stake of just £7.

The William Hill customer placed a series of multiples on seven horses at morning prices – which included a winner at 150-1.

Three of the seven were beaten, but Schiaparannie at 8-1, Tiquer (25-1), Irish Sovereign (66-1) and the huge outsider Alchemystique all came home in front netting him £281,246.23.

William Hill spokesperson Rupert Adams said: “It’s fair to say one punter had his crystal ball out this morning as he managed to pick winners at 8-1, 25-1, 66-1 and 150-1 over the jumps at Southwell!

“Having staked just £7 on multiples before racing got under way, the customer surely couldn’t have believed his luck when Irish Sovereign won the finale at 66-1 netting them £281,246.23 in the process.”

Southwell and Haydock upbeat despite calling inspections

Officials at Southwell and Haydock are optimistic about their chances of racing despite calling inspections ahead of their fixtures.

Southwell’s meeting on Tuesday needs to survive a 7.30am check on raceday, while Haydock’s meeting on Wednesday is subject to a 2pm inspection on Tuesday.

Clerk of the course at Southwell, Paul Barker, said: “We’re very optimistic of racing and if the forecast is correct, we don’t envisage any problems.

“We got down to -2C Saturday into Sunday, the frost came out yesterday but we’re below freezing again now (10am Monday). It’s going to get gradually warmer throughout the day, possibly up to 6C this evening, so we’re just making people aware.”

Haydock is currently covered in a light frost and a dusting of snow, but a thaw is set to kick in on Monday afternoon.

As conditions are currently unraceable an inspection was called before declarations, but with temperatures due to rise to 10C on Tuesday, clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright is also upbeat.

“If you are at any stage unfit (to race) you are obliged to call an inspection, so it is for that purpose,” said Tellwright.

“In the context of the forecast we are pretty optimistic. We are not fit at the moment, but a thaw is to start this afternoon.

“We have a couple of days for it to sort itself out and the frost is not very deep in the ground.”

Praxeology makes the most of final Fibresand opportunity at Southwell

Praxeology maintained his unbeaten Southwell record when taking the six-furlong Firewall Ltd Handicap at the track’s final meeting on the Fibresand surface.

Ridden by Pat Crosgrave and trained by David Loughnane, the gelding was a convincing winner when crossing the line two and a half lengths ahead of his nearest rival at 6-1.

The fixture was the last chance for horses to run on the Fibresand before work begins to replace it with Tapeta – a mix of silica sand, wax and fibres.

“He was one from one (at Southwell) previously, he loved the surface though obviously it’s the last time he’ll run on it,” said Loughnane.

“It was a good performance, he did it nicely, we went there expecting a big run and it was nice to see him do it.

“He’s the only horse I’ve trained that actually likes the surface, I think it’s for the greater good of racing that they’re changing it.

“I understand that some people feel it was good for getting horses used to dirt tracks, but with the way things are going, I think a lot of tracks will now be on Polytrack.

“I think it’ll be the best all-weather track in the country when it’s done, so I’m looking forward to seeing it when it’s finished.”

Triple Jaye made a winning return to the all-weather to take the Coopers Marquees Classified Stakes for David Allan and Tim Easterby.

The three-year-old has been campaigned on the flat recently without success, but was a length-and-a-quarter winner when taking the opening five-furlong contest at 100-30 favourite.

“She’s always had early speed so this track has really played to her strengths” Allan told Sky Sports Racing.

“She’s run a few good enough races where we’ve thought she would win the next time and it just hasn’t quite happened, but it was the speed of this track that was really right for her.”

Easterby and Allan then enjoyed a double on the card as Fossos was triumphant by a neck in the Stuart Lees Memorial Handicap.

Starting at 5-1, the three-year-old stayed on strongly to deny the challenging Better By Far the race.

“He was just idling a bit but when he felt them coming, he actually stuck his neck out again,” Allan said.

Mystic Wells overcame a slow start to prevail in the A & V Squires 50 Year Challenge Fillies’ Novice Stakes for Ben Curtis and George Boughey.

The two-year-old found herself at the rear of the field with two furlongs left to travel but cut through the pack to take up the lead inside the final furlong and eventually succeed by three and three-quarter lengths.

“It s worked out in the end, she made me work for it and they got their money’s worth!” Curtis said.

“When you get on the back foot on an inexperienced horse with that amount of sand in their face, and it’s kicking back more than ever here today, it’s a testament to her to keep going at the end.”

Illies Memories took the N&L Franklin Developments Ltd Handicap for Kieran O’Neill and Charlie Hills, starting at 18-1 and prevailing by a neck from 5-2 favourite Macmerry Jim.

Lord Torranaga was then the winner of the final race on the Fibresand track when taking the Sponsorship Signage @ signsolutions.org Handicap at 12-1 for Billy Garrity and Phil Kirby.

Nolan suffers back injuries in Southwell fall

Micheal Nolan is set to have surgery today after suffering back injuries in a fall at Southwell.

The jump jockey fractured his T5 and T6 vertebrae and broke several ribs when taking a nasty tumble from the Seamus Mullins-trained Ardbruce at the second fence in the Southwell Handicap Chase over two miles on Monday.

He was treated on track and then taken to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham for further assessment. Nolan was conscious and complaining of chest pains.

“X-rays show the fracture in T5 and T6 which they are going to operate on this afternoon and stabilise,” said Mullins.

“They found the uppermost rib was broken as well, which was giving him the chest pain. His lungs were OK.

“He’ll be in hospital a few days post op and he should be out by the weekend at the latest.

“The prognosis is pretty good. Yes, he’ll be out for an extended period, but everything is moving and he said he was feeling quite comfortable this morning. He’ll be fine long-term.

“I’ve spoken to him this morning and he’s in good spirits.”

Exitas scores emotional success for Middleton at Southwell

An emotional Phil Middleton recalled how Exitas twice overcame life-threatening injuries in the last two years to return to winning form at Southwell.

Middleton, who owns as well as trains the 13-year-old, managed to  hold his composure as he greeted his winner after the Dapper Spaniel Gastro Pub Rolleston Handicap Hurdle.

Ridden by 5lb claimer Tabitha Worsley, the 17-2 chance showed he retains all his enthusiasm for racing as he came home eight lengths clear of Hattaab.

It was a first success for Exitas since a veterans’ handicap chase at Aintree in October 2018.

“He ran here a couple of years ago and put his foot in a hole,” Middleton told Sky Sports Racing.

“He ripped his shoe off, and the shoe was dangling in his tail. He came back and couldn’t get off the horse box.

“He had torn all his ligaments through his pastern. We stood him for six months in agony. We nearly had him put down.

“We nursed him back. On his comeback run, he struck into himself, burst his joint capsule. The vet said he will get an infection. It’s 50-50. You might want to put him down.

“We sent him off to Newbury vets hospital for two weeks, and they saved him.”

After that second major scare, Middleton thought it best to retire Exitas – but the horse had other ideas.

“I retired him. He was as miserable as sin. He stood at the gate asking to come in – ‘I want to be a racehorse’,” said the Aylesbury permit holder.

“We ran him at Warwick, and he pulled up two out. The jockey got off him and said he was lame. I thought ‘not again’.

“I leapt over the rails and got down there. He was soon trotting as sound as a bell. The vets were there, there was nothing wrong with him, so I thought we’ll carry on.

“I can hear people thinking he’s cruel carrying on, but it’s not about greed. He loves the game – and I love him!”

Retirement could finally be imminent for Exitas – but he is first likely to make a quick reappearance in a handicap hurdle at Worcester on Saturday.

“He’s going to be retired,” added Middleton.

“When he wins he usually wins three. I think he’ll win at Worcester on Saturday night – and I’ve got the best home ever for him after.”

Jockey Jonathan England, on fourth-placed Wishfull Dreaming, received a two-day suspension for careless riding.

Royal double for Henderson team at Southwell

The Queen enjoyed a Southwell double as Nico De Boinville steered two horses to success at the Nottinghamshire track in the royal silks.

The first of the Nicky Henderson-trained duo to strike was Kincardine, who won on his racecourse debut when taking the Dapper Spaniel Gastro Pub Rolleston Open National Hunt Flat Race after starting as 13-8 favourite.

The four-year-old is out of Side Step who is turn a daughter of Magic Score, with both dam and grand-dam owned by the Queen and trained by Henderson.

“He was fantastic, it was nice to have something to aim at for a change,” De Boinville told Sky Sports Racing after the early pace of the race was provided by No Authority.

Rapid Flight ridden by jockey Nico de Boinville on their way to winning the Happy Birthday Lucy Titchener ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle at Southwell Racecourse
Rapid Flight ridden by jockey Nico de Boinville on their way to winning the Happy Birthday Lucy Titchener ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle at Southwell Racecourse (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I think it might turn out to be a nice bumper in time, he’s a really nice horse and he showed plenty of toe there.

“He was doing enough in front, he pricked his ears and I knew if the other horse came to me, he’d have gone on again.”

The owner-trainer-jockey trio then enjoyed an immediate second success on the card as Rapid Flight landed the Happy Birthday Lucy Titchener ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle.

The five-year-old made all of the running and stayed on to shake off a challenge from Sounds Russian before passing the post a length and a quarter ahead as a 9-4 shot.

Fergal O’Brien and Paddy Brennan also teamed for a treble on the card, with Coole Well prevailing in the Free Racecourse Entry With Golf Membership Handicap Chase to provide their first success.

The eight-year-old started as 10-11 favourite and only officially joined O’Brien’s stable six days ago after spending some time at Brennan’s base since departing his former yard.

Coole Well ridden by jockey Paddy Brennan clear a fence on their way to winning the Free Racecourse Entry With Golf Membership Handicap Chase at Southwell Racecourse
Coole Well, ridden by jockey Paddy Brennan, clears a fence on their way to winning the Free Racecourse Entry With Golf Membership Handicap Chase at Southwell Racecourse (Mike Egerton/PA)

O’Brien said: “Paddy more or less trained him for this one.

“We’ve had Coole Well four or five weeks, Paddy’s done all the work at home.

“He’s got a nice set up there and he’s just been hacking about.

“The longer we’ve had him, the better he’s settled in, so we were very pleased with that. It was lovely the way he travelled and jumped.”

Byzantine Empire (3-1) then produced O’Brien and Brennan’s second success when a three-and-a-half-length winner of the Jigsaw Sports Branding Novices’ Hurdle before As High Say (2-1 favourite) wrapped up the hat-trick with victory in the Rolleston Revival Village Event Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

The favourite also prevailed in the Follow Jigsaw Sports Branding On Twitter Handicap Chase as Kerry Lee’s Do It For Thy Sen crossed the line eight lengths ahead of his nearest rival under Brendan Powell.

Having triumphed at the same track on his last outing, the gelding was 5-2 favourite for the contest and ran prominently from the start.

Picking up the lead with three fences left to navigate, the seven-year-old was easily able to pull away from the rest of the field and was a ready winner of the two-and-a-half-mile contest.

Do It For Thy Sen, ridden by jockey Brendan Powell, clears a fence on his way to winning the Follow Jigsaw Sports Branding On Twitter Handicap Chase at Southwell Racecourse
Do It For Thy Sen, ridden by jockey Brendan Powell, clears a fence on his way to winning the Follow Jigsaw Sports Branding On Twitter Handicap Chase at Southwell Racecourse (PA/Mike Egerton)

Tanit River provided Robbie Llewellyn and Bradley Gibbs with a success in the Join Southwell Golf Club Open Hunters’ Chase at 4-1.

The 11-year-old brought credible form from hunter chases at Ascot and Cheltenham and made all of the running to deny David Maxwell aboard the Paul Nicholls-trained 8-15 favourite Cat Tiger.

“He ran at Cheltenham in the four-miler and he jumped and travelled very well that day,” Gibbs said.

“Four miles around Cheltenham was probably a bit too far for him, but he’s back here today. Robbie said he had him in good form and to be fair, he did – he jumped and galloped today.”

Harry Skelton seizes jockeys’ title lead with Southwell treble

Harry Skelton’s title hopes were boosted by a Southwell treble that left him two wins ahead of Brian Hughes in the jump jockeys’ championship.

Skelton was trailing his rival by one ahead of the card, but his full book of rides produced three victories while Hughes drew a blank.

Fidelio Vallis took the opening contest for Skelton and Paul Nicholls, drawing 11 lengths clear of his nearest challenger to justify a starting price of 30-100.

The second leg of Skelton’s treble was then provided by Caroline Bailey’s Just A Deal, who was a runaway winner of the second division of the Join Southwell Golf Club Handicap Hurdle after finishing second in a similar contest last time out.

The six-year-old started as 15-8 favourite and was unchallenged when cruising to a 19-length victory – providing Skelton with his 138th success of the season.

“He’s done really well,” Skelton told Sky Sports Racing.

“The last day we just bumped into one. I rode him with a bit more room today, he jumped well and stayed on really well.

“Caroline said ‘don’t be afraid to just get him rolling, because all he does is gallop’.

“He’s fairly inexperienced, but he’s going the right way.”

Skelton and Bailey teamed up again to take the last the race on the card as Begin The Luck obliged at 5-1 and left the jockey holding a narrow lead with 11 days of the season to go.

“The support I’m getting is fantastic,” he said.

“I’m very grateful to everyone who has chipped in to help me get this far, hopefully now we can just keep pushing.

“It’s a long way to go and a lot of things can happen, but I’ve got good people around me.”

Skelton is the 1-5 favourite with both Coral and Ladbrokes to be crowned top jockey.

Elsewhere on the card, the first division of the Join Southwell Golf Club Handicap Hurdle went the way of Go Chique for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville, with the five-year-old mare passing the post three and three-quarter lengths ahead of her nearest rival to land a 15-2 success.

“She was really good,” De Boinville said.

“She won her bumper here and she’s been progressing nicely. She really appreciates top of the ground and a step up to three miles helped as well.”

William Of Orange then claimed his 10th career success when winning the On Track Off Course: racingwelfare.co.uk/podcast Handicap Chase for conditional jockey Joe Williamson and trainer Mark Walford.

The 10-year-old was triumphant at Catterick in March under the same rider and seemed to bounce back from his subsequent well-beaten effort at Sedgefield to prevail again at 15-2.

“He’s class really, he’s old enough now and he knows the ropes,” Williamson said.

“Everything possibly just happened a bit quick the last day at Sedgefield and he just got caught a bit off his speed, but there was a bit more give in the ground today which suited him and he’s done it nicely again.

“It’s great to get another winner for Mark Walford, who’s given me plenty of support this season.”

The Donate To Racing Welfare Online Maiden Hurdle then went the way of Paul Webbers Pawpaw, who was steered to a four-and-three-quarter-length success at 17-2 by Ciaran Gethings.

“He gave me a great feel, I spoke to Richie (McLernon, who rode last time) on the way here and he filled me full of confidence,” Gethings said.

“It was very smooth, really, he jumped and travelled well.”

Harry Skelton maintains championship chase with Southwell treble

Harry Skelton’s stellar form continued as he kept up his title charge with a treble at Southwell.

Skelton was trailing reigning champion jockey Brian Hughes by three wins going into the meeting, with both riders having full books of rides at Southwell and Hexham respectively.

Skelton got a winner on the board early when taking the first race aboard Gary Hanmer’s Costly Diamond, who sealed a hat-trick of victories when prevailing by a length and a quarter in the biowavego.co.uk And Wave Goodbye To Pain Handicap Chase.

Ridden prominently throughout, the evens favourite took up the lead over the sixth fence and was never passed, holding on to triumph ahead of Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Larch Hill.

The next contest produced another Skelton success, with the jockey this time partnering Olly Murphy’s First Class Return in the Free Tips Daily On attheraces.com Handicap Chase.

First Class Return, ridden by Harry Skelton, on his way to winning the Free Tips Daily On attheraces.com Handicap Chase at Southwell Racecourse
First Class Return, ridden by Harry Skelton, on his way to winning the Free Tips Daily On attheraces.com Handicap Chase at Southwell Racecourse (Mike Egerton/PA)

Starting as 10-11 favourite, the eight-year-old came to the fore early and was unchallenged when registering a 12-length success.

Skelton was denied three back to back wins when beaten in the next two contests, but Soyouthinksoagain did deliver in the Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Handicap Hurdle for his brother Dan.

The victory left Skelton level with Hughes at the top of the table with each jockey on 130 wins, but Hughes’ success aboard Bavington Bob in the fourth race at Hexham saw him edge back into the lead again with over three weeks until the season concludes

“It’s brilliant and it’s down to a good team,” Skelton told Sky Sports Racing.

“Dan’s horses are flying and I’m picking up a few outside rides. I’m in a very privileged position with a lot of good people around me.

“Obviously you’re always watching, aren’t you?” he said when asked if he was following Hughes’ fortunes at Hexham.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t, but this is a position I’ve always wanted to be in – I’ve dreamt of being here.

“I never thought I’d do it this year, but it’s fantastic and I’m loving it.

“My agent, Ian Popham, is working very hard and my brother’s working very hard in placing the horses.”

Harry Skelton
Harry Skelton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Elsewhere on the card, the favourite prevailed in the Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, with Aidan Coleman in the saddle as the Nicky Henderson-trained Hob House triumphed at 5-2.

From the family of Champion Hurdle winner Epatante and running in the same JP McManus silks, Hob House was making his racecourse debut and Coleman was impressed with the professionalism he demonstrated.

“He felt very well, I delivered him well and he was no real hassle,” he said.

“He was forward enough going into the race and the race went to plan. I committed him a bit sooner than I’d like because one decided to take me on leaving the back.

Last year's Champion Hurdle winner Epatante is a relative of Hob House
Last year’s Champion Hurdle winner Epatante is a relative of Hob House (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“I just let him go on then, he was idling a bit up the straight, but he’s a nice horse.

“He was very good, he was very straight and professional.”

Of any similarities between the four-year-old and Epatante, Coleman added: “There’s plenty to like about him. He’s probably not as fast as she is, but he’s got the size and scope to hopefully run over a bit further than she does.”

Rockstar Ronnie was at the head of the market for the Download The At The Races App Novices’ Hurdle and looked likely to be another winner for Skelton, but it was Olly Murphy’s No Risk Des Flos that struck to give Coleman back-to-back wins.

The grey had run with credit in all four prior starts, winning once in a maiden hurdle, and demonstrated his credentials as a future chaser with a good round of jumping and a three-and-a-quarter-length victory.

No Risk Des Flos, ridden by Aidan Coleman, winning the Download The At The Races App Novices’ Hurdle
No Risk Des Flos, ridden by Aidan Coleman, winning the Download The At The Races App Novices’ Hurdle (Mike Egerton/PA)

“He’s a gorgeous horse, he just needed a bit of time, but he’s done his job,” said Ger Tumelty, assistant trainer to Murphy.

“He’s won two hurdles now this season and he’s going to be a lovely horse to go novice chasing with – I’d imagine that’d be the plan next year.

“He’s still a bit green, he’s still a bit raw.

“He was a fresher horse coming into it today, we’re really happy with him and I think he’d probably appreciate a bit further on slower ground.

“He was good enough to win today, that’s the main thing.”

Charlie Todd appeared to escape serious injury as he was unshipped from Dragon Bones in the Sky Sports Racing Virgin 535 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

The filly swerved approaching the obstacle, firing Todd into the hurdle, but the rider walked away from the incident. Padstow Harbour (11-1) took the prize.