Stratagem too good for Doncaster rivals

Stratagem followed in his half-brother Ziga Boy’s hoofprints when getting off the mark over fences in highly-promising style at Doncaster.

Ziga Boy loved the Town Moor track, winning three times from four starts, including their winter feature, the Sky Bet Handicap Chase, in 2016 and 2017.

That race may well be a target in the future for Stratagem after the Paul Nicholls-trained grey made it third time lucky over the bigger obstacles in the Sky Bet Beginners’ Chase.

The five-year-old had shaped well on his chasing debut when a close second at Warwick, but he blotted his copybook when unseating Harry Cobden at the first fence at Plumpton.

He made amends in tremendous fashion as he put his two rivals to the sword. Relishing the step up to two and a half miles with a competent round of jumping, Stratagem (5-4 favourite) came home five lengths clear of Ballymoy with Minella Trump 34 lengths away last of the three.

“That was good. I don’t know what happened at Plumpton. He just lost his concentration or something for, as you could see today, he’s a good jumper,” said Nicholls’ assistant, Harry Derham.

“The two and a half miles suited him well and he’s a lovely young horse for the future.

“This horse had some nice hurdles form, but chasing was always going to be his game. I would imagine there’ll be plenty more to come. He’s a young horse with not many miles on the clock.

“I’ve no doubt that eventually he’ll be a smart three-mile chaser.”

Ben Case enjoyed a 100 per cent strike rate with The Golden Rebel and Shanty Alley giving the Edgcote trainer a 126-1 double.

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The Golden Rebel ran his rivals ragged in the Sky Bet Extra Place Races Every Day Maiden Hurdle.

The seven-year-old was making his debut under rules for Case, but put his experience in the point-to-pointing field to good use.

Amateur rider Jack Andrews able to dictate affairs from the start of the two-mile-five-furlong event and was never troubled as The Golden Rebel (33-1) struck by 29 lengths from Valsheda.

“That was very nice. He’s only been with me a couple of weeks,” said Case.

“I think they’ll be a few horses like him who can’t go pointing. Julie Wadland sent him to me and said he was quite a nice horse.

“I thought he’d run well, but I was surprised to see him win like that.

“I don’t know a huge amount about the horse, but he looked very straightforward and obviously he’s had a bit of experience.”

Front-runners held sway during the afternoon and Shanty Alley (11-4 favourite) showed the way in the Play ITV7 Tonight Novices’ Handicap Chase.

The seven-year-old backed up his 26-length romp at Uttoxeter last month with another dominant display.

The three-and-a-quarter-mile trip was no problem as he crossed the line 12 lengths ahead of Big Nasty under 3lb claimer Bryan Carver.

Case said: “He had a fall at Southwell last year and it probably did him the world of good. He would have won but he fell three out going well. He’s learnt what to do now and we have learned how to ride him as well.

“He did it well last time and again today. He’s an improving horse and he’s only seven.

“He stays well and is a proper staying chaser. The handicapper will probably put him up a few more pounds, but I won’t run him under a penalty.”

Solwara One (11-2) looked a bright prospect when making a winning debut over jumps in the Sky Bet Britain’s Most Popular Online Bookmaker Novices’ Hurdle.

Leading between the final two flights, Neil Mulholland’s seven-year-old went on to score by five and a half lengths from long-time leader L’Incorrigible under James Best.

“That was the first time I’ve sat on that lad – he looks a really nice animal,” said Best.

Uisce Ur (12-1) put up a game display when she made virtually all the running over the extended three miles in the Sky Bet Request A Bet Training Series Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

Luca Morgan had the Ben Pauling-trained nine-year-old in the van throughout and the mare found extra in the closing stages when strongly challenged by Calarules to score by three-quarters of a length.

“It was the right race for her. She stays all day. She got to the front and she set good fractions and kept finding all the way up the straight,” said Pauling.

Morgan had mixed fortunes, being banned for seven days for using his whip above the permitted level on third-placed Ange Endormi in the concluding bumper won by the Nicky Henderson-trained newcomer Wiseguy (10-11 favourite) in the hands of Nico de Boinville.

Alison Johnson, the rider of Luduamf, who finished 11th of 18 in the conditional jockeys’ event, was banned for 10 days for failing to obtain the best possible placing.

Lily Of Leysbourne (12-1) overcame a 767-day absence to win the Sky Bet Best Odds Guaranteed Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

The Fergal O’Brien-trained mare, ridden by Paddy Brennan, collared the pace-setting Hawthorn Cottage to win by seven and a half lengths.

Hawthorn Cottage was disqualified from second place as her rider, Lucky K Barry, failed to weigh in. Barry was banned for seven days.