A review of Tuesday's action from Huntingdon as Your Darling won on his chasing debut for Ben Pauling.
Your Darling continued to fulfil his lofty reputation when putting in a near foot perfect round of jumping to make a winning debut over fences in the Racing TV Novices’ Handicap Chase at Huntingdon on Tuesday.
Once described by former trainer Henrietta Knight as the best horse she had purchased since Best Mate, the gelded son of Shirocco put in a round of jumping the triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner would have been proud of.
Steadily working his way into contention, the 100/30 chance cleared right away from his rivals after the last in the two and a half mile prize before scoring by an eased down three and three quarter lengths under Luca Morgan.
Ben Pauling, winning trainer, said: “It didn’t take me by surprise as we know how good he is but he is not fit. It was a case of ‘have we done enough?’ so it was his class that got him through.
“He is a lovely horse and was given a great ride by Luca. He has been a bit keen early doors in his races before so we didn’t want to do that today so we decided to ride him quietly and he has been a different kettle of fish today.
“It was great to see him jump so well. It is very special for everyone associated with the horse as Lord and Lady Vesty died last year and he is now in the ownership of the children.
“Let’s hope he can start to get back to where he should be now.”
Somewhat Cloudy vindicated owner Charlotte McCracken’s faith in her when needing a photo finish to gain a career first success in the Racing TV Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
Having jumped the last in the extended 2m3f prize with a clear advantage, the 4/1 chance did just enough to repel Worcester bumper winner I Spy A Diva by a nose.
McCracken said of the Donald McCain-trained winner: “I had total faith in her that she held on. I thought she ran really well and learnt a lot from her last start at Cartmel.
“One fell in front of us early on that day and that just lit her up but she settled a lot better today and jumped well. She just got a bit lonely in front.
“Brian (Hughes) just said we could drop her back to two miles on a more galloping track.”
McCracken hopes that Somewhat Cloudy can go on and follow in the hoofprints of stablemate, and dual Listed winner Bannixtown Glory, who last week picked up the Leading Hurdler prize at The McCoys, the awards which celebrate brilliance in Jump racing across Jockey Club Racecourses.
She added: “She came from Aidan Fitzgerald who I got Bannixtown Glory from. It would be nice if she could pick up some black type like her as that is what you want from mares.”
Jockey Jonjo O’Neill Jr described the late Trevor Hemmings as an “inspirational character” following his victory aboard hurdling debutant Any Givin Sunday.
The Cheltenham Festival-winning rider paid tribute to the owner, who passed away on Monday aged 86, after the five year old made a winning stable debut for his father, trainer Jonjo O’Neill, in the Racing TV Novices’ Hurdle.
Hemmings, who was also owner of Championship football club Preston North End, enjoyed many notable victories with the Jackdaws Castle handler during his time in the sport. These included three successes at The Festival™ at Cheltenham with Albertas Run, who claimed the 2008 Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Chase and the 2010 and 2011 Ryanair Chase, as well as last year’s Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury with Cloth Cap.
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O’Neill said: “It is nice to get a winner especially today after Mr Hemmings passed away last night. He was a huge supporter of racing and was an inspirational character.
“He will be a massive loss to racing. He loved his staying chasers and he was only buying store horses in August. He always looked towards the future.
“We had some great luck with him in the past with the likes of Albertas Run and Cloth Cap, but there were plenty of others as well. It is a great shame that we have lost him.”
On the length and a half success secured by his 9/1 winner he added: “He had done nothing wrong at home but he wasn’t necessarily a massively flashy horse.
“We wanted to get him round and have a nice experience but he showed a good turn of foot and put it to bed nicely.”
Jockey Tom Scudamore was another to pay tribute to Hemmings following his two and three quarter length victory aboard Peltwell (17/2), who started where she left off when completing a five-timer in the Racing TV Handicap Hurdle.
The Grade One-winning rider thanked Hemmings for providing him a day to remember last season with success aboard Cloth Cap in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.
Scudamore said: “Mr Hemmings was very good to me and he gave me one of my best days of my career last year when I won the Ladbrokes Trophy on Cloth Cap.
“Everything has already been said about what a great man he was but he was also a great supporter of Jump racing.
“He will always be remembered for everything he has achieved in the sport. He was an absolute gentleman.”
There was late drama in the two mile prize when Glimpse Of Gold, who was challenging for victory, unseated Alexander Thorne. However, Scudamore felt he had victory secured at the time of the incident.
On the Neil Mulholland-trained winner he added: “I think I had the other horse beat. She has her own way of doing things but she jumped the last well.
“She travelled really well and it was great to see her pick up where she left off. She has been very well placed.”