Over £100,000 of prize money was available at Warwick Racecourse on Wednesday afternoon as the course hosted its final fixture of the 2014/15 season which attracted a sizable crowd for the venues annual Ladies Day meeting.
Five runners contested the feature Wigley Group Handicap Hurdle ran over the 2 mile trip with the David Pipe trained Bella scooping the £25,000 first prize. Subject to strong market support in the betting ring prior to the race, Bella stayed on well in the closing couple of furlongs to beat 16/1 chance Stoneham, who finished 2nd.
There was disappointment, though, for local duo Dan and Harry Skelton. The brothers saddled 1/10 favourite Benissimo in the opening Novices’ Hurdle race. Despite the extremely low odds, and on the back of victory at the Warwick track, Benissimo was stalked by rival To Begin who led in the closing 100 yards.
Skelton’s other runner, Magic Magnolia, didn’t live up to her 6/4 favourite status as she finished 4th of 5 in the meetings feature race.
Elsewhere three times trainers champion Nicky Henderson was amongst the winners as Lough Kent impressively won the second race on the card, a 2 miles Handicap Chase. Ridden by Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey Nico de Boinville, Lough Kent quickened smoothly from three out to take victory on the bridle by 15 lengths.
Champion Conditional Jockey Sean Bowen also made the winners enclosure following a patient ride aboard Grape Tree Flame. Bowen tracked the leading pack before unleashing his challenge approaching the final flight of hurdles. A gutsy performance saw Grape Tree Flame collar Henri Parry Morgan in the closing strides.
War Singer provided Noel Fehily with his second winner of the afternoon in the days penultimate race. That was before 3/1 chance Ballinure became Nicky Henderson’s second winner of the afternoon when winning the concluding ‘bumper’ race.
Warwick Racecourse now takes a summer break with racing returning to the venue on Tuesday 22nd September as the National Hunt season for 2015/16 will commence.