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Warwick

  • 15:05 Neptune Investment Management Leamington Novices' Hurdle 2m 5f

  • (Grade 2) £25,000 added 5yo+ 8 ran
  • Winner £14,238 2nd £5,342 3rd £2,675 4th £1,332
  • Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 4m 59.80s
  • Off time: 15:05:14

Full result

15:05 Warwick Result 14th January 2012
Pos Draw Dist Horse Weight Jockey Trainer Age SP
1st Cotton Mill 11-4 Jack Quinlan J P Ferguson 5 11/2
Always prominent, mistake 6th, led when not fluent 2 out, edged right approaching last, driven out opened 4/1 touched 5/1
2nd ½ Ambion Wood (IRE) 11-4 A Glassonbury V R A Dartnall 6 7/2
Always prominent, led after 3 out, ridden and headed next, edged right approaching last, still every chance flat, held close home opened 4/1 touched 4/1
3rd 9 Same Difference (IRE) 11-4 S Twiston-Davies N A Twiston-Davies 6 16/1
Held up, headway approaching 7th, ridden after next, went 3rd 2 out, no chance with front pair opened 25/1 touched 25/1
4th 21 Highland Lodge (IRE) 11-4 Jack Doyle Miss E C Lavelle 6 5/6f
Took keen hold, led, jumped right 4th, not fluent 8th, headed after 3 out, weakened before next opened 10/11 touched 10/11
5th 9 Jumps Road 11-4 J Tizzard C L Tizzard 5 16/1
Held up, not fluent, mistake 2nd, ridden approaching 7th, behind next opened 16/1 touched 16/1
6th Fintan 11-4 T J O'Brien B R Summers 9 50/1
Took keen hold, held up in rear, mistake 6th, headway when not fluent 8th, weakened approaching 3 out opened 50/1 touched 50/1
7th 39 Castle Conflict (IRE) 11-0 A Thornton H D Daly 7 14/1
Held up, mistake 2nd, headway 5th, pushed along and lost place after 6th, behind from next, tailed off opened 12/1 touched 14/1
8th 1 Layla's Dancer 11-4 N Fehily A W Carroll 5 40/1
Held up, mistake 5th, weakened 8th, tailed off opened 40/1 touched 40/1

Betting breakdown

Tote Win: £6.60 Tote Place: £1.70,1.10,4.10
Straight Forecast: £25.72 Exacta: £20.90 Trifecta: £208.40 Swingers: 1&2:3.00 2&3:7.30 1&3:7.10

Jackpot: £82,365.37 carried forward to Kelso, 15th Jan
Placepot: £534.70, Pool: £145734.64, 198.94 winning tickets
Quadpot: £101.30, Pool: £10523.11, 76.8 winning tickets

Verdict

Carruthers lifted this prize in 2008 while 2005 winner No Refuge was the last winner to go on to be successful at the Cheltenham Festival although Court In Motion and Mossley both went on to be placed last year. It was a little hard to gauge the quality of this field with the leading contenders stepping up in class and the initial impression is that the form is nothing out of the ordinary. COTTON MILL, rated as high as 96 on the Flat, had easily won races at Hereford and Fakenham and showed a good attitude under a strong drive to maintain his unbeaten record on this step up in class. He didn't appear to be the easiest to steer taking the sharp left hand turn into the straight and made a hash of the second last but responded gamely to record a narrow success with a rail to help. Connections are keen to head to Cheltenham with the half-brother to Arc fifth Pure Grain and, although the race of this name will surely be a temptation, one of the handicaps may prove to be a better option. The handicapper has no easy task rating this contest with the winner rated 139, the second and third 129 and 121 coming into this and the 140 rated Highland Lodge failing to run his race. There's no doubt that Ambion Wood stepped up on the form that he has shown in novice and maiden hurdles and he has benefited from being ridden more prominently. Looking every inch the future chaser, he lost little caste in defeat and went a long way to justifying his trainer's high opinion of him. Victor Dartnall had earlier mentioned the EBF Final at Sandown the weekend before Cheltenham as a potential target and that valuable prize would appear to be the obvious race to aim for; it would be no surprise if he went straight there. The disappointment of the race was the heavily backed Highland Lodge but he weakened very quickly on turning in with his tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth and this was not his running. He has plenty of size and scope about him and should come into his own once jumping a fence providing that connections can get to the bottom of this performance; Jack Doyle later reported that the gelding hung right-handed. Irish point winner Same Difference stayed on well without ever troubling the principals and is another who is likely to be switched to chasing sooner rather than later. This was another promising run following a fair effort under a penalty at Newbury and he can win more races. Jumps Road had got the better of a couple of useful recruits from the Flat when winning at Ffos Las but was readily left behind when the principals turned the screw on this step up in trip; it was disappointing that he didn't manage to stay competitive for longer. Castle Conflict was another that failed to fire although he may have found this coming too soon after his win at Hereford.