Fri, 22 Mar 2019
LAMBOURN trainer Warren Greatrex enjoyed a strong day in day one of the Be Wiser Jumps Season Finale at Newbury on Friday afternoon.
The trainer's only winner of the day came from Bob Mahler in the Branch Novices Chase (4.00), with Richard Johnson being the jockey.
Although Greatrex was not in attendance, assistant trainer Olly Kozak was on hand to pick up the trophy.
And after the race, Kozak said: "We knew after the last [hurdle] he would find that extra bit, once we asked it off him.
"To be honest, he has promised us that all season," said Kozak. "I thought he would run a decent race today and he has shown that he has got the ability.
"Although he has been a slow learner, he is progressing as time goes on and once the head is in front, he'll build on from it.
"We have always held him in high regard and there are certainly bigger targets - he is easy to deal with and very straight forward," Kozak added.
Elsewhere, Greatrex had two other horses that placed in The Wolf (3rd) and Carnspindle (3rd).
In the opening race, it was joint-favourite Dashel Drasher who crossed the line in first place for Jeremy Scott and Matt Griffiths.
Remastered (7/2), ridden by Tom Scudamore, finished second ahead of The Wolf - trained by Upper Lambourn's Greatrex.
However Seven Barrows trainer, Nicky Henderson couldn't get off to a winning start with Morning Vicar.
Greatrex had another third place during the Handicap Steeple Chase in the form of Carnspindle (16/1).
But it was Graceful Legend who came home in first place after jumping consistently throughout, while Master Burbidge (14/1) was second.
Despite the name, Notachance took his chance to finish first in the Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth Handicap Hurdle (D1).
Three Star General - priced at 9/1 - finished ahead of Henry Oliver's, Avantgardist.
It was the 8/1 of Cracker Jak who sailed over the line first ahead of Travertine in second and Perfect Pirate in third.
Greatrex picked up his first winner of the day when Bob Mahler - priced at 9/1 - edged out Gary Moore's Larry.
Air Navigator was third, but Henderson's Turtle Wars could only finish sixth.
Johnson picked up his second straight winner as a jockey, guiding Zanza to victory in the Insurance Handicap Hurdle.
The 41-year-old held off the late challenge from while Our Merlin (14/1), who finished second while favourite Nube Negra (5/2) came home in third.
In the penultimate race on Friday, Gavin Sheehan guided House Island at 40/1 to victory after holding out 10/3 priced, Nobby.
Meanwhile, Imperial Alcazar - priced at 11/4 prior to the race - finished third.
In the final race of the day, Master Baker - 5/4 favourite prior to the start - held off the late threat from Southfied Vic.