Harry Redknapp, the former West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham manager, was at Exeter yesterday supporting his trainer Nick Mitchell who saddled Dance Floor King to win the feature Download The App at 188Bet Handicap Chase.
Redknapp invested in Mitchell’s Dorset yard in November moving his horses there with syndicates run under the banner Three Kings Racing.
“That was Nick’s first winner since I’ve been involved and its great to come here today to Exeter and watch a bit of racing and have a winner. It’s wonderful. I love a day at the races,” he said.
The gelding has had a series of problems since scoring a hat trick of wins in 2014 but showed signs that he was on the comeback trail when finishing a good second at the course in December.“I’m really happy to see him get his head in front. He’s ten now and he’s had a lot of setbacks but his owner Nick Elliott has always kept the faith in him,” said Mitchell.
Bindon Mill made an eye catching chasing debut at the course on New Year’s Day, finishing fifth in a competitive novices’ chase, and there was no mistaking the ease of his success in the novices limited handicap despite a couple of mistakes. Held up at the rear of the field by Nick Scholfield, he travelled smoothly through the field with a blunder four from home barely denting his progress and he recovered well to win readily by nine lengths. His trainer Victor Dartnall said he would need more schooling over fences at home to help brush up his jumping skills but more of the same is sure to follow.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ good season continued with Pink Gin winning the Good Luck Vision De la Vie handicap Hurdle in the hands of Mark Grant. Explaining his unique name, Julie Fowler, who owns the nine-year-old with Chris Jenkins, said: “He was bred by Peter Guntrip, a long standing owner, and the horse was always called PG. So when he was properly named we called him Pink Gin. He has the build and scope of a chaser and he needs soft ground on a galloping track. He’s nine now so we’re ready to get on with it!
Chance Taken did everything but win the race in the Mobile Casino at 188Bet Mares’ handicap Hurdle with Marthas McCandles heading her in the closing strides. Trained by Alan King, Wayne Hutchinson was on the winner with the favourite Bobble Boru third.
Mr Clarkson was an uneasy favourite in the opening Jockey Club Ownership Syndicate Maiden Hurdle but David Pipe’s diminutive gelding dug deep on the inside rail to hold off the challenge of Ridgeway Flyer and win by two and a quarter lengths. It was a winning debut for the five-year-old who Pipe described as a perfect horse for his syndicate of owners, the Pipe’s Prospectors, as he always tries hard.
The Philip Hobbs-trained Casper King was the impressive winner of the second division in the hands of Richard Johnson.
Harry Fry, who so rarely leaves Exeter without a winner, unveiled another very decent prospect with former point-to-point winner Over To Sam making a winning debut under rules in the maiden hurdle.