A QUALITY renewal of the Eider Chase took place at Newcastle, and it produced a very impressive winner with Wyck Hill coming home clear under Tom Scudomore.
David Bridgwater was delighted to train the winner for famous owner JP McManus and, afterwards, Bridgwater said: “That was absolutely wonderful.
“It was a great ride by Tom, last time he rode Wyck Hill he won on him, and he knows him so well. He got the trip well and the handicapper had given him a bit of a chance, and it’s brilliant to have a first winner for JP.
“He’s a big slowboat and, with hindsight, a race like today’s was made for him, and I hoped that would be the case when I entered him. The Grand National is the target if he gets in but that was a big race today, so if that’s his Grand National that’ll do nicely.”
Staying at Newcastle, Micky Hammond was on the mark in the novices’ hurdle with the beautifully bred The Rambling Kid, who came home in front under Jason Maguire.
The Middleham handler said: “The Ramblin Kid is a half-brother to Riverside Theatre and he’s got chaser written all over him. He’s coped with the ground but like most of these horses he’d probably prefer better ground, and I think he’ll have an exciting future.”
In fact, It has been a great spell for a lot of the Middleham trainers’ and on Thursday they enjoyed a double at Sedgefield with Sally Hall and George Moore both on the mark.
Hall sent out Tom Lamb to take the bumper in impressive style under Adam Nicol while Moore scored with Turf Trivia under Barry Keniry.
Moore’s horses are always respected at Sedgefield and afterwards he said: “Turf Trivia has been a little star for us. The thing is he hates this ground, but what do you do; if you don’t run them, they stay in their boxes at home.”
Catterick raced on Tuesday afternoon and, once again, inform trainer Micky Hammond was on the mark when Summerlea took the amateur riders race under the experienced Catherine Walton.
This consistent type wasn’t winning out of turn and afterwards the winning handler said: “He wasn’t winning out of turn. He had run three really good races here and crept up the handicap – no doubt he will do so again but at least he was won a race now.”
The Cheltenham Festival has lost its second headline act in three days after Colin Tizzard revealed Cue Card will join Sprinter Sacre in missing jump racing’s greatest meeting, which gets underway a week on Tuesday.
Owned by Jean and Bob Bishop, Cue Card was an 8-1 chance for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Sprinter Sacre’s defection from the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase on Sunday had raised the possibility the Cue Card camp could even supplement him for that, but they have been dealt their own cruel blow.
Tizzard, whose son Joe rides the eight-year-old, said: “He has not been quite right behind for a week and we have done everything we possibly can to try to rectify the problem, but the decision has been made with the owners this morning not to run at Cheltenham.”
The absence of Cue Card, a festival winner when successful in the Champion Bumper in 2010 and also in last year’s Ryanair Chase, meant a shake-up in the betting for the Gold Cup and Ryanair.
While a couple of the big stars are missing, there is still so much to look forward too on what is the best that National Hunt racing has to offer.