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6th November 2021 Wincanton

Jockey  Charlie Hammond was all smiles after celebrating the biggest victory of his career aboard Captain Tom Cat, who returned to winning ways with a front-running success in the John Romans Park Homes “Rising Stars” Novices’ Chase at Wincanton today.

After rattling up a hat-trick of wins early in the season, the Dr Richard Newland-trained six year old appeared to have something to prove in the Grade Two following defeats at Market Rasen and Cheltenham on his latest start.

Settled into a nice rhythm out in front by Hammond the 6-4 chance put in solid round of jumping before getting the better of a late battle over the last with odds-on favourite Mick Pastor by two and a quarter lengths.

Victory for Hammond was his first at the level with his previous biggest success arriving in last year’s Grade Three Grand Sefton Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree.

Hammond said: “That’s by far my biggest winner. I won the Sefton last year but to come here and win a Grade Two is lovely. The boss (Dr Richard Newland) has been good to put me up today so things are going well.

“We missed the odd one down the back but we were almost between strides and I was just trying to quicken up then. He has been very clever and got me out of trouble and over the last three when I needed him he was really good.

“It was a lovely jumping performance and he stayed it out well and that is probably won us the race. He is a big athletic sort that was a cheap buy but the boss has done a real good job with him.”

Knappers Hill barely had to get out of second gear to maintain his unbeaten record when giving trainer Paul Nicholls a one-two in the EBF Stallions “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.

Having saddled Flic Ou Voyou to glory in the mile seven prize 12 months ago the Ditcheat handler saw the prize head his way again after the 1-10 favourite accounted for stable mate Gala De Corton by three and three quarter lengths.

Nicholls said: “It was a penalty kick really and it was a like a racecourse school for him and it gave him a bit more experience.

“He had been a bit fresh the first time but he is learning all the time. He will go in a better race where he can get a lead.

“It was nice prize money here and you wouldn’t get that schooling at home. I was delighted with the second horse (Gala De Corton) as he is learning all the time.

Assessing future plans a trip to Ascot for the Grade Two Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle, better known as the Kennel Gate on December 17, Nicholls continued: “Something like the Kennel Gate at Ascot is an option. I always thought he would have a couple of runs and go there so we will see.

“I’m not convinced he wants it too deep as he is a speedy horse.”

Alan King was another trainer to enjoy a one-two after Wynn House made a winning return to action when getting the better of stablemate Hotter Than Hell by three quarters of a length in the Richard Barber Memorial Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

King said of the 100-30 winner: “I’ve always thought she was very good. She seems to have grown a fair bit and developed through the summer.

“We came hopeful today but I must admit leaving the back we weren’t too hopeful as she was flat out.

“She probably wants to go up in trip as the extended two miles five around here on good ground is sharp enough but she has seen it out well.

“She wore cheek pieces at the end of last season but we left them off. I don’t like putting them on first run.

“There are no set plans but looking at the way she has won the handicapper has just about got her right.”


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