Torpillo joins impressive list of novices by winning feature race

Owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede claimed yet another victory at Warwick on Wednesday, as Torpillo and Sam Twiston-Davies made every yard of the running to land the feature Highflyer Bloodstock Novices’ Chase, writes David Hucker.

Torpillo jumps the second fence on his way to victory in the Highflyer Bloodstock Novices Chase. Picture:
Torpillo jumps the second fence on his way to victory in the Highflyer Bloodstock Novices Chase. Picture:

Successful in previous runnings with Bristol De Mai, who bids for a Betfair Chase hat-trick on Saturday, Sceau Royal and Top Notch, this is a race that Munir and Souede target each year and, in Torpillo, they have another young horse to carry their familiar green colours in the top novice chases this season,

Regulars at Warwick know to look no further than Dan Skelton’s runner in the opening race and they collected again as odds-on favourite Emmas Joy, ridden by his brother Harry, led from start to finish to take the Visit “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle over two miles.

Although joined by Bran at the fourth-last flight, Emmas Joy soon saw off his challenge and had 13 lengths to spare over second-favourite Captain Woodie, who was outpaced in the middle part of the race but ran on in the home straight without ever looking like threatening the winner.

Champion jockey Richard Johnson rode a patient race on chasing debutant Evidence De Thaix in the Olly Murphy Racing Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase, giving her plenty of time to measure her fences before challenging favourite Quick Wave approaching the final jump. Carrying top weight of 11-11, Evidence De Thaix came clear on the run-in, with the other three runners well strung out down the Warwick home straight.

Johnson repeated the tactics on Stratford winner Winter Getaway in the following Use The Tracker Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, coming alongside favourite Subway Surf with one to jump and putting daylight between herself and her rivals on the run-in.

Subway Surf, part-owned by Carol Vorderman and having her first run over hurdles, faded badly on the run-in, conceding second place to Ziggy Rose, who had been prominent throughout and should win a race in time.

The trip was two miles and three furlongs for the Askews Accountants Handicap Hurdle and it was 11-4 favourite Flinck who came out on top, jumping past Aliandy and the pace-setting Robinshill at the final flight to score by one-and-a-quarter lengths and complete a treble for Johnson and trainer Philip Hobbs.

The John Sumner Memorial Veterans’ Handicap Chase featured some old favourites including Warwick Classic Chase winner Milansbar, ridden by Bryony Frost, who was running from the same handicap mark after a disappointing last season.

He faded out of contention at half-way as top-weight King’s Odyssey came off the pace to prove too good for Smooth Stepper in the best finish of the afternoon.

Dorset trainer Anthony Honeyball saw his two runners Belle De Manech and Coquelicot fight out the finish of the closing David Nicholson Memorial Fillies’ “Junior” National Hunt Flat Race, with Maskada, who was backed from 10-1 to 5-1, left a long way behind in third.