Up And Go trounces Ascot rivals
Relentless galloper Up And Go would not allow his rivals a look-in in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Ascot.
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A strong chestnut from the Donald McCain yard, he was sent to the front from the off as 15/8 favourite by Jason Maguire and retained his advantage to the line, beating Aaim To Prosper by six lengths.
"I pitched him into a Grade Two at Sandown on terrible ground (where he fell) but he made the running at Wetherby, just like he did in his point-to-point days," McCain said.
"I was impressed at Wetherby, but even more impressed today. He's not the finished article and there's no great hurry (to go to Cheltenham), if we don't want to go."
Vino Griego continued his rebirth as a serious racehorse by collecting his second victory in a row in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Chase.
While Gary Moore's gelding had shown such promise in bumpers, it was not until his 18th attempt over fences that he finally won at Cheltenham last month.
Moore's son Jamie produced the 11/4 favourite with immaculate timing and drove him two and a half lengths clear of Cappa Bleu.
"We're not training him differently, we're maybe riding him a bit differently, but his whole attitude has changed," said Moore snr.
"He's looking like the horse we always thought he could be. We'll look at the novice handicap chase at Cheltenham, if he qualifies."
Cappa Bleu, as well as third-placed Saint Are and The Rainbow Hunter (fourth) are all being prepared for the John Smith's Grand National.
Cappa Bleu's trainer Evan Williams said there was only "one day" for his horse, while Tim Vaughan and Kim Bailey were satisfied with efforts from their respective horses on ground which was unsuitably soft for them.
A change of plan by Nick Gifford reaped dividends for Kuilsriver in the Betfair. Don't Settle For Less Handicap Hurdle.
The 33-1 chance was given a fine ride by Tom Garner to edge out Sadler's Risk by half a length.
"He was electric schooling over fences but he had a bad fall on soft ground at Plumpton so we put him back to hurdles," said the Findon trainer.
"I fancied him in a hurdle at Plumpton on Monday, but that was called off and we came here instead. We took the tongue-tie off, so maybe that helped too."
David Pipe's much-touted Red Sherlock scrambled home to win the bumper as the 4-6 favourite but a trip to Cheltenham is far from certain.
Pipe said: "He wasn't impressive, but it was a lot to ask for a four-year-old. Whether he goes to Cheltenham is debatable."