Odds-on favourite Picanha just prevailed in a close battle with Trincomalee to land the £20,000 South West Syndicate Handicap Hurdle, feature of Molly Olly's Charity Raceday at Warwick on Thursday (April 21), writes David Hucker.
Run over a trip of three miles and one furlong, it was top-weight Flemcara and course winner Trincomalee who took the runners out on the final circuit. Trincomalee won the battle for the lead down the back straight, but was tracked by 10/11 favourite Picanha and they were locked together over the last two hurdles with just a length between them at the post.
The eight-race card got underway with the first division of the Join Racing TV Now Maiden Hurdle over two miles and three furlongs and there was a strong favourite in the shape of odds-on Mortlach who went clear at the third-last flight to beat outsider Missfit and Betterforeveryone.
Drash On Ruby and Patagonia headed the market at 2/1for the second division but, in a close finish, it was the 8-year-old Commander Miller, sent off at 22/1, who broke his duck and gave trainer Danni O'Neill her first win under Rules.
Hat-trick seeking Regaby made the running in the Watch On Racing TV Novices' Handicap Chase over three miles with the grey Stinggrey and Great D'Ange joining him up the home straight on the first circuit. It was 16/1 shot Great D'Ange who asserted over the five fences down the back straight, turning for home with a clear lead and running on strongly in the hands of Ciaran Gethings to beat Bunny Boru and Another Mystery.
Elham Valley set a good gallop in the Visit racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle tracked by Petticoat Lucy, but it was Ashoka, the choice from four entries for Alcester trainer Dan Skelton, who led over the final flight to follow up his win at Market Rasen three weeks ago. Mucho Mas and favourite Hyland both finished strongly, but Ashoka, another sent off at 16/1, held on to win.
Shortcross Storm and One For Billy cut out the early running in the Bet At racingtv.com Handicap Chase over two miles, but it was One For Billy who forged clear at halfway and, by the time he lined up to face the last two fences, his only threat came from Atlantic Storm, having his first run since December. Fitness told in the end and One For Billy stayed on strongly to score by one and three-quarter lengths to bring up a Skelton double.
In the absence of Trixster, it was San Agustin who headed the market in the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Handicap Chase over three miles, but the race went to bottom-weight The Late Legend who made all the running to repel the late challenge of Young Offender before Don't Tell David took the closing National Hunt Flat Race.
Racing is back on Monday, May 2 with Kids Carnival Raceday, the first of four meetings that make up Warwick's May Racing Carnival.