With two meetings in just 4 days, it has been a busy week at the Racecourse. One of the feature races of the season, a class 2 handicap hurdle for horses rated 0-150 carrying £20,000 in prize money, was won by the Ian Williams trained Byron Flyer. Williams trains at Alvechurch and has enjoyed 4 consecutive victories in two months with 5 year-old Byron Flyer.
Herefordshire based former assistant to Nicky Henderson, Tom Symonds has just two horses in training for the summer. Delighted with the rain softened ground, Symonds faith in keeping Kaki De La Pree in training paid off with a first win over fences in the Novice Chase on the Sunday card. The talented horse described by Symonds as ‘fragile’, was having his first run since November, as lameness prevented him taking up his entry in the Welsh National.
Joint owner of State of Play and Alvarado, Angela Rucker from Knightwick was on holiday for her 53rd birthday last Wednesday and missed watching her Mr Kit Kat win the novice hurdle. The horse won last time out at Sedgefield in May and has benefitted from wearing a hood in his races.
Another winner at Worcester on Wednesday, also successful on the same Sedgefield card was San Benedeto (pictured above). In a master class of riding, Sam Twiston-Davies was in third place by 6 lengths over the last fence in the opening novice chase, but managed to galvanise the Paul Nicholls trained five-year-old to get up on the line by a neck. In a thrilling finish, just one and a half lengths separated the first 4 horses home, with the lead changing several times on the run in. Presenting Arms ridden by Richard Johnson was unlucky to be caught and had to settle for the runner up spot for the second time at Worcester this summer.
Twiston-Davies and Johnson are currently vying for leading national hunt jockey status which is an interesting new phenomenon as Tony McCoy has so dominated this contest in recent years. Johnson’s progress has been hampered by 4 separate two-day whip suspensions between May 25 and June 7.
The same tussle is reflected at Worcester with Twiston-Davies leading the way from Sean Bowen and Johnson, but only 8 points separate the trio. Twiston-Davies’ victories so far this season have been mainly spread across horses trained by Paul Nicholls, his father, Nigel and Claines based Richard Newland.
The other ‘scores on the doors’ at Worcester after the last week show Nicky Henderson retaining his lead over Phillip Hobbs thanks to wins by Only for Love and Turn Turk, and JP MacManus joining the Troubled Pink Partnership and John Nicholls at the top of the owner’s table.