Newbury Races: Emitom could be a name to remember after his fifth win in a row
The rain held off, but the clouds turned it quite dark by fifth race. The going - after the previous day's rain and some watering - was Good to Soft for Newbury Racecourse's Mencap Raceday (March 1) - and with another Emitom win, a new star may well have shown how bright he could shine.
Warren Greatrex, who set La Bague Au Roi on an unbeaten run at Newbury inNovember, showed off a talent he believes could become her equal or even betterwhen Emitom - under Gavin Sheehan - stretched his perfect record to five wins.
This winner of hurdle races at Lingfield and Ffos Las proved he could handle thebigger stage when he repelled the Nicky Henderson-trained Interconnected bythree quarters of a length despite conceding 10lb to his opponent in the RR EliteNovices’ Hurdle.
Like La Bague Au Roi, who won a Grade 1 on her last start, Emitom holds no engagements at Cheltenham, but is predicted to feature at thefestival in years to come by his Lambourn trainer: “I was worried today and thought he would have to produce a serious performance and to give 10lb to some good horses means he is very good, seriously good."
“He will go to Aintree now where we will put him in the two and half andthree-mile novice hurdles. I think he is right up there with the best I havetrained without a shadow of a doubt. He is so talented, a bit special."
“He has won two before today easily - and today he has had to fight so he has prettymuch got everything you want. We ran out of time for Cheltenham withhim as I needed to get a prep run into him. I know the owners are disappointed, but this horse has a huge career and he could be going there for the rest of his career.”
Nicholls in great form
Paul Nicholls, a serial winner on Greatwood Charity day, warmed up for Newbury'sSaturday meeting with a victory from Christopher Wood who clinched hissecond win since switching from the Flat to jumps.
He is another hurdler who could be lining up at the Aintree Grand National meetingafter a comfortable victory in the Irish Thoroughbred MarketingJuvenile Hurdle.
Nicholls will saddle three runners in the Greatwood Gold Cup in which hewill be seeking his ninth success. The trainer’s assistant Harry Derham lookled ahead to the Greatwood Gold Cup: “Dolos is probably the best one. He is going up in trip. He is not the easiest to place with his rating, but the owner wasn’t keen to go to Cheltenham so this looks a nice race for him."
“Warrior’s Tale was disappointing last time and I couldn’t give you a reason.He loves Newbury and seems in good form. He will go to Aintree after that.He is in the Grand National, but we would like to run him in the Topham, forwhich he would be one of the favourites."
“San Benedeto is probably badly handicapped but spring is more his timeof year so hopefully he will come back into form some time soon.”
Welcome break for the two Jonjos
Jonjo O’Neill Jnr’s first winner at Newbury could hardly have been easier asEy Up Rocky, trained by his father, captured the Physicool Conditional Jockeys’Handicap Hurdle.
As trainer Jonjo O'Neill explained , Ey Up Rocky suffers from a fibrillating heart condition and has to undergo regular checks before being allowed to run: “We tested him in the stables, again when we saddled him and at the start.”
“He won that nicely. Luke Harvey rode him in his last work at home so hewill be making a comeback now probably!” It was the trainer’s first win at the course since November 2015.
The members of the Colin Tizzard Racing Club are enjoying a prolificseason with Lillington who gained his fourth win of the campaign in theOakley Coachbuilders Handicap Chase.
Surrounded by Club members, Tizzard enthused: “He is lovely club horse to have. He’s been to Cheltenham and Newbury when we only thought he would be a horse for Monday at Plumpton.”
Photos courtesy Newbury Racecourse