West hits Newbury target
David Arbuthnot was not too surprised to see Westaway steam in 13 lengths clear in the Moore Of Devizes Ltd Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Newbury.
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There had been plenty of money about for the 10-race maiden, who went off the 3-1 favourite and kept finding in the testing ground for Tom Cannon.
"He hasn't run many bad races this season and was staying on very well at Wincanton last time," said Arbuthnot.
"He had been dropped to a mark of 113 so I was hopeful. He's in at Sandown next week over two miles and six. I don't want to go, but I might have to if the handicapper puts him up a lot."
It clearly meant a good deal to Lawney Hill to have a televised Saturday winner at a big track in the Betfair Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
The 9-4 favourite Billy Twyford, who moved from Nicky Henderson's last season, rallied under Tony McCoy to pull a length away from Who Owns Me and Brackloon High in an across-the-track battle.
"It has been a struggle with the weather this winter - Caroline Keevil said when she won at Kempton last week that it was for all the smaller trainers - and moments like this make it all worthwhile.
"AP said when he came under pressure two out he thought he wouldn't get home, but to be fair to Billy he dug deep and stayed the three miles."
Yet another decent Saturday winner went Venetia Williams' way as Liam Treadwell earned his fee on Summery Justice (9-2) in the Barbury International Supporting Greatwood Veterans' Handicap Chase.
Crabbie's Grand National entry Burton Port appeared to be revitalised by cheekpieces, establishing a clear lead but tiring in the closing stages as Summery Justice forged past and went seven lengths away.
"He's a slow horse but this was the ideal race for him and I was pleased he got a nice lead from Burton Port," said Williams.
The runner-up's trainer Jonjo O'Neill, who was tending to the horse as he arrived back with blood around the mouth, said: "He's just bitten his tongue. I'm delighted with him as that's the first (good) race he has run for a long time."
Mick Meagher, racing manager for owner Trevor Hemmings, said: "He'll probably run in the National."
On an afternoon more full of Aintree clues, there was still a possible Cheltenham-bound winner in the Ladbrokes Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
Half of the six runners were wiped out at the second-last, when Seventh Sky fell and brought down Tiqris and then Roman Flight, leaving Jumps Road (13-2) in a duel with Kuda Huraa.
The Colin Tizzard-trained former won out by a neck and Tom Chadney, who runs the Chasing Gold syndicate, said: "Jumps Road has been a great horse for the club all season, although it's very unfortunate for the other three horses.
"The great thing is he'll get a 5lb penalty which will help for his entry in the County Hurdle."
Simon Earle and Andrew Thornton combined with Headly's Bridge (14-1) in the Greatwood Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.
Puisque Tu Pars (5-1) made a winning debut for trainer Gary Moore and his jockey son Jamie in the West Berkshire Racing Club "Junior" Bumper.