Threeunderfive wins at Warwick
Threeunderfive wins at Warwick

Warwick Saturday review: Sporting John books Final place


A review of the rest of the action from Saturday's meeting at Warwick where Sporting John returned to winning ways.

Final fling for Sporting John

Sporting John booked his ticket in the Pertemps Final in March – should that be the route connections decide upon – with a straightforward success in the Pertemps Qualifier.

Philip Hobbs’ charge is now 8-1 for one of the most competitive races of the Festival having returned to winning ways under Aidan Coleman.

A Grade One winner over fences last year before falling at Cheltenham being pulled up Aintree, he had won and come fourth at Cheltenham in two races prior to this.

“His form was in the book and he’s won that off quite a high rating (151),” said Coleman. “The race worked out perfectly, we were well placed turning in and the way the race developed you had to be in the firing line which he likes – everything went like clockwork.”

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Cheltenham next for Threeunderfive

Threeunderthrufive booked his Cheltenham Festival ticket and the possibility of a £25,000 bonus into the bargain when continuing his winning ways in the Wigley Group Hampton Novices’ Chase.

Trained by Paul Nicholls and owned by Max McNeill, neither were on course to witness his second Grade Two win as both are on holiday in the Caribbean and no doubt the champagne corks would have been popping some way from home.

Adrian Heskin was positive on the 8-13 favourite and bounced him into an early lead and in truth he never looked like being caught, coming home three and a half lengths clear of Doyen Breed, who was in receipt of 5lb.

The conundrum now for connections is to run in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase in March, for which he is 16/1 (from 25s) with Betfair and Paddy Power, or the National Hunt Chase over three-mile-six where he is 8/1 from 10s with Sky Bet.

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Threeunderthrufive is also in the new Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Novices’ Chase at Lingfield next week, but he is highly unlikely to turn out again quickly.

Heskin was not surprisingly thrilled with his mount: “Bar his first run of the season he has been faultless and he’s given me a better feel today than Doncaster. I know people think we should run in the National Hunt Chase, but he’s deceptively quicker than he looks. I leave it to Paul.”

Iain Turner, McNeill’s racing manager said: “The owner and trainer are meeting for dinner in Barbados tonight and had he got beat it would have been evens each of two to see who would have cancelled first I think! He’s in at Lingfield just in case anything happened here. I doubt he’ll run, but we’ll see how he comes out of this.

“I think we’re favouring the Brown Advisory at the minute. Last year we shied away from taking Monkfish on with Escaria Ten. Monkfish was nowhere near his best but still won, and we ended up taking on Galvin in the National Hunt Chase and he’s nearly favourite for the Gold Cup now.

“The bonus for anyone winning this and at Cheltenham is a great boost, it definitely made our mind up to come here rather than Lingfield so well done to all involved.”

Seasca shines in Courage Cup

Brave Seasca continued his progression when making every yard of the running to win the Alder Demain & Akers PMS Oxford Edward Courage Cup Handicap Chase at Warwick.

The lightly-raced seven-year-old arrived off the back of wins at Warwick and Ascot – and had been so impressive he was racing off a mark 16lb higher than the first of those.

It appears the handicapper has still some catching up to do, though, as the in-form Charlie Deutsch and Venetia Williams combination landed another good prize.

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The 4/5 favourite beat last year’s winner Sky Pirate, who went on to win the Grand Annual, by seven lengths, and that Cheltenham race is now in Williams’ sights. He can be backed at 16/1 with Paddy Power adn Betfair.

“I’m very happy. We can’t get too carried away as he was getting lumps of weight (20lb) from Sky Pirate, but you’d have to be pleased at his progression,” said Williams.

“I was actually shouting at Charlie to get on with it, but he knew what was under him and he went away again after the last. The Grand Annual would have to be given serious consideration now.”

Brave Seasca has the measure of Sky Pirate
Brave Seasca has the measure of Sky Pirate

Flying start for Punctuation

Punctuation (15/8 favourite) fairly bolted up on his debut for Fergal O’Brien in the Start Your RacingTV Free Trial Now Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

A smart performer on the Flat for Andrew Balding, he had failed to transfer that ability to hurdles for Charlie Longsdon.

Having his first run since May and from a lowly mark of 95, Paddy Brennan just had to make sure he avoided any trouble on his way to winning by four and a half lengths.

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O’Brien’s partner and assistant Sally Randall said: “We’ve spent a lot of time getting him right at home so to do it first time means a lot. He’s a confidence horse and whatever happened today it was all about the future.

“He’s a natural jumper, but he can get upset very easily. It worked out well today being the first race and we brought him in late.”


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