Punters were treated to an exciting finish to the feature £30,000 Wigley Group Carnival Handicap Chase, won by Leapaway, writes David Hucker.
Kelso winner Joke Dancer headed the betting market, but it was Sir Tivo, who was keen in the paddock and unshipped Kevin Brogan at the start, who led from top-weight Dolos. Lorcan Williams sent Dolos into the lead turning into the home straight, looking the likely winner.
But Leapaway came from last to first under Tom O’Brien to grab the lead close home.
There was a match for the opening Logicor Crudwell Cup Open Hunters’ Chase, run over a distance of three miles and one and a half furlongs, and the Dan Skelton-trained Debece made all the running to beat his sole rival Give Me A Copper without every really coming out of second gear.
There were joint favourites for the Join Racing TV Now William Eborall Maiden Hurdle in the shape of Quid Pro Quo, having his first run for 437 days and returning after wind surgery, and Galahad Threepwood, who had made a promising debut over jumps when third at Newcastle.
Cadeau D’Or took them along, tracked by Galahad Threepwood, with Harry Skelton content to bide his time on Quid Pro Quo.
The complexion of the race changed on the turn for home as Galahad Threepwood swept into the lead, but Quid Pro Quo was going ominously well behind him and, when Skelton pressed the button approaching the final hurdle, the race was all over and he coasted to a 14 length success.
Top-weight Sofia’s Rock set a good pace in the Coronation Handicap Hurdle over two miles, although losing ground when jumping to his right, and his chance had gone when 9/4 shot Elham Valley swept past him with two hurdles to jump.
Despite clattering the final flight, Elham Valley was always in control from there on and ran out an easy winner from John Betjeman, with Sophia’s Rock back in third.
Course winner Great D’Ange was sent off 6/4 favourite to follow up his win here last month in the Watch On Racing TV Chandler Handicap Chase and, having taken over the lead approaching the first of the five fences down the back straight, looked to be going well until taking a fall at the middle obstacle.
It was Troed Y Melin, who had been pulled up in his last two races, who stayed on well under Sam Twiston-Davies to beat Aire Valley Lad, who was nearest at the finish.
Owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede took last year’s running of the Feldon Dunsmore Carnival Handicap Hurdle with Fix Sun and their colours were to the fore again as ex-French Gipsy de Choisel made all the running to win his first race in this country.
This was before Apache Creek landed the closing Logicor Warwickshire Handicap Hurdle.