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Raceday Report – Thursday 30th January 2020

It was a day for diehard jump race fans, due to persistent fine rain and fog obscuring visibility all afternoon.  However, they were cheered by favourites winning five of the six contests.  Welsh runners accounted for three quarters of the fields in four of the races, and local trainers won three on the card.  The going was heavy.

The first was a 2m hurdle.  David Pipe’s Main Fact (5/4 fav) won two races last week and made it three in eight days in facile style.  Mick Manhattan was five lengths clear jumping the third last, but somewhere in the murk the positions were reversed by the time they reached the final flight.  Mr Fergus Gillard steered the favourite to a comfortable 10 lengths success.

Pileon (1/3 fav) led throughout the 2m4f novice hurdle.  Republican kept tabs on him till two out, but Pileon pulled right away from that point to score by 20 lengths.  Tom O’Brien was riding the Philip Hobbs-trained winner, deputising for the injured Richard Johnson.

The five-runner beginners chase over 3m resulted in an exciting finish.  Jammin Masters jumped well and led until the final fence.  Jammy George, who’d put in a mixed round, took the lead at the point, only to be challenged by Theligny (9/1).  They settled down to fight it out on the run-in and in the last 50 yards Alan Johns drove Theligny ahead to win by half a length.  Tim Vaughan’s grey hadn’t won for three years, having proved difficult to train.

Philip Hobbs completed a double in the 2m3f novice chase. Keep Wondering (3/1 fav) was held up until going on after the fourth last with Robin Of Sherwood, and he dashed into a clear lead before the final fence to romp home by 10 lengths.  It was veteran jockey Dave Crosse’s first win at Ffos Las, at the 33rd attempt.

A 3m hurdle was the fifth on the card. Three were disputing the lead at the first in the straight, and when they emerged out of the gloom at the last No Rematch had a definite advantage.  Call Me Sid, whose light-coloured silks were the most visible in the field, had been near the front throughout and plugged on for second, five lengths away, with the rest well strung out.  Evan Williams trained the winner and Adam Wedge rode him.

The market spoke volumes about the 2m chase. Mouseinthehouse (7/2 jt fav from 8/1 in the morning) was cruising in third place at the fourth last, where the leader Champion Chase made a dreadful blunder.  That one managed to stay upright, but had nothing left to repel the winner’s challenge – which completed a quick double for Evan Williams and Adam Wedge.

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