Williams to bide time with Findlay hotpot
REPORT: BANGOR, Friday
WHEN you see one of Harry Findlay's horses backed from 4-6 to 2-7, you assume that Findlay has done some of the backing, but if you did assume that Denman's joint-owner had steamed into his impressive juvenile hurdle winner Wake Board, you assumed wrong.
Wake Board had finished third in an Auteuil Listed hurdle on his only previous outing, so it was no surprise he was sent off jolly for an early autumn heat at Bangor, but odds of 2-7 still seemed skinny until the scopey hotpot ran his rivals ragged under Christian Williams.
"It's not about gambling with a horse like this," said trainer Evan Williams. "Harry hasn't had a penny on him, but he will still have been bouncing around his office, especially as he went to France himself to buy this horse."
Williams added: "I had no intention of running him yet, as he's still six weeks off a run, but then the rain came.
"He's got bags and bags of ability, but he's still rawand this track was too tight for him. He's a real chaser in the making, so I won't rush him, and we might just wait for the Finale Hurdle over Christmas."
Irish Legend became the second Welsh winner of the day when striking in the 2m1f handicap hurdle for an eight-strong syndicate from Newport that includes trainer Craig Roberts' "unpaid assistant" Steve Blackwell.
"He would have been an absolute certainty if the ground had been softer," said Blackwell, while rider Tom O'Brien added:
"The lads got me down to school him yesterday and told me the only thing that could get him beat was me!"
O'Brien has now ridden 20 winners this season, 41 fewer than Tony McCoy, who bagged the novice chase on Berings Express before completing a double for himself, Jonjo O'Neill and owner Gay Smith aboard New Approach's half-brother Thunder Rock in the 3m handicap hurdle.
Another famous sibling struck in the 3m handicap chase, in which Exotic Dancer's half-brother Cebonne came from 20 lengths off the pace to hose up under Paul Moloney, who enjoyed the race more than Alan O'Keeffe, taken to hospital with a suspected shoulder injury following his fall from Downing Street.
Much happier was winning trainer Sophie Leech's husband Christian, a former BHA handicapper. "I didn't think he was well treated," admitted Leech. "I thought going up 7lb for his last win was a bit harsh, but clearly I was wrong!"
Conditional Jack Doyle did well toget the better of Tony McCoy and Jason Maguire when winning a three-way battle for the novice hurdle on Dancing Mist.