After a month's break, racing returns to Warwick on Friday (November 5), with the Stan Mellor Raceday, supported by Jewsons, featuring the Class 3 Jewson Stan Mellor Memorial Novices' Steeple Chase run over the minimum trip of two miles, writes David Hucker.
Mellor, who became the first jockey to ride 1,000 winners when the grey Ouzo scored at Nottingham on 18 December 1971, went on to become a successful trainer, passing away at the age of 83 on 1 August last year. He was, perhaps, most well-known for his win on outsider Stalbridge Colonist in the 1966 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, beating the immortal Arkle by half a length when in receipt of 35lbs.
Last year's inaugural running of the race saw the chasing debut of Allmankind, who has progressed into one of the best around over two miles and his trainer Dan Skelton runs the lightly-raced King Rowland, who makes his stable debut, having previously been trained by Harry Fry. The front-running For Pleasure will ensure a fast pace, but the one to beat could be 150-rated hurdler Edwardstone who has his first run over fences here.
It all kicks off at 12.50pm with the Jewson Leamington, Rugby Road Juvenile Hurdle, won last year by the smart Adagio, and this year's event could throw up another useful recruit in the shape of French bumper winner In This World who makes his debut for Dan Skelton.
Perth winner New Reality was less than fluent in his jumping when well beaten at Wetherby and Greystoke, who won twice on the flat this year for trainer Mick Channon, is now with Alan King and could be the danger.
Next up is the Franco "Firework" Esposito Is 40 Novices' Hurdle in which Skelton saddles once-raced River Legend from his three entries. He can be expected to step up from his bumper debut, but may find Irish point-to-point winner Complete Unknown, now with champion trainer Paul Nicholls, a tough nut to crack.
The Jewson Leamington Spa, Old Warwick Road Handicap Hurdle could provide another winning opportunity for First Quest and regular rider Hugh Nugent, although Ashoka, lightly-raced of late, is very well treated off a handicap mark of 111 if regaining his previous form.
The longest race of the afternoon is the Jewson Stratford-Upon-Avon Handicap Chase over three and a quarter miles and it could go to The Newest One, who got off the mark over jumps when winning a novices race at Newton Abbot last time out. He finished runner-up to the useful One More Fleurie over the course in April, although runs from a 7lb higher mark now.
Course and distance winner Jarlath has a low weight to carry in the Jewson Coventry Humber Avenue Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase before the biggest field of the day will line up for the concluding Jewson Rugby British EBF Mares' Open National Hunt Flat Race. Ten of the runners are making their racecourse debuts but, of those that have run, Lutinebella, runner-up to the well-backed Betty's Belle here in September, could go one better.