Twiston-Davies clan celebrating as Red Riverman raises their colours
Red Riverman carried trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies' colours to victory in the feature totepool Mobile Best Mate Novices' Limited Handicap Chase at Exeter yesterday, after the five-year-old responded to the positive urgings of the trainer's son Sam to win by three quarters of a length from The Italian Yob.
Carl Llewellyn, representing the winning trainer, said: "He likes it soft and, the more it rained, the better his chance. He's won on heavy over hurdles and he'll keep mixing hurdling with chasing now."
Paul Nicholls has always held Sonofvic in high regard and the eight-year-old could finally start rewarding his patience following his win the Your Favourite Pools Bet at totepool.com Beginners' Chase. Admittedly, it soon became a two horse race with Kentford Grey Lady after A P McCoy and Rendl Beach fell at the second, but Daryl Jacob brought the gelding home unchallenged and he was given a quote of 20/1 for the RSA Chase in March by Paddy Power.
Future plans very much depend on how he comes out of the race but better races are likely to be on the agenda following the confidence-boosting outing.
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Masters Hill made a winning return having been off the track for nearly a year when he won the Amateur Riders' Novices' Hurdle with Mikey Legg on board.
"He was rated 137 from one run last year in a novice chase, but then he had a stress fracture of his splint bone," said trainer Colin Tizzard.
"His hurdling was accurate and it was good for young Mikey [Legg] because he's worked for us for a few years now. That might be what he is, but he'll come on for the experience. The idea of coming for this race was that he'd probably have to run at Cheltenham in a handicap off 137, so we just wanted a few quiet runs. He's obviously got an engine. He could be all right."
Philip Hobbs tentatively admitted Horizontal Speed, who justified even-money favouritism in the Greystone Novices' Hurdle, could be a decent prospect after he held off Evan William's Minella Friend, a horse who, until yesterday, was believed to be destined for greatness.
"We'll go for another novice hurdle on a stiff track. There's improvement to come and he's a nice horse," he said.
Jackie Du Plessis had been without a winner for a year but Ray Diamond firmly put that right after winning the two miles three furlongs handicap hurdle. "We bought him at Ascot earlier this year as he had really good form but looked like he needed a change of scenery," she said. "He's not very fast so he needs it soft and we might enter him up again quite quickly now."
Jeremy Scott's Special Account (4/1) was given a patient ride by Nick Scholfield to win the Haldon Handicap Chase by three-quarters of a length from Bendant. "He only had to reproduce his form of summer to win today. We'll look for a similar sort of race for him," he said.
The concluding bumper went to the Robert Stephens-trained Modus, who won with five lengths in hand from Martin Hill's Flamenco Lad.