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Warren’s Gr1 Winning Form

Pudding & Pie for Wagga!
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Sunday was a red-letter day for Winning Form- sponsored SA Champion jockey elect Warren Kennedy.

He doubled his career Gr1 tally on an afternoon where he rode three feature winners. And he looks to have his best chance yet of breaking the ice in the Vodacom Durban July.

The KZN-based rider recently missed out on an opportunity to win the SA Triple Tiara on Summer Pudding due to interprovincial travel restrictions.

But he put that professional disappointment well behind him when booting home a polished and professional Gr1 double, that included two very different, but equally brilliant, displays from the saddle.

Riding Eric Sands’ 2019 Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge in a race for the first time, Warren used his initiative and fine judgement to make his own pace in the Gr1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge.

Warren Kennedy – in Winning Form! (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

“I can only say that it turned out to be a near perfect July prep in the end, with the bonus of a truly prestigious Gr1 success for everybody involved. He is being aimed for the July, and it was never our plan to give Rainbow Bridge a punishing race. It is common knowledge that a nasal infection kept the big boy out of his originally intended SA Champions Season starting point – the Drill Hall Stakes. So it’s been a bit of a catch-up exercise. But after Sunday it is all systems go and we are back on track,” he added confidently, pointing out that Rainbow Bridge had naturally tired late, but would be ‘spot on’ come 25 July.

When asked whether this would be his best ever Durban July winning chance, Warren responded by saying ‘definitely’.

Warren Kennedy – chasing rainbows! (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Summer Pudding’s extraordinary late surge from a seemingly hopeless position to win the Gr1 Woolavington 2000 was described as ‘her best effort ever’ by Warren.

“At the 350m I thought ‘that’s it’. Summer Pudding was off the bit and Bernard (Fayd’herbe) had skipped and grabbed three lengths on the very talented Lady Of Steel. That’s a no-comeback type of position at Hollywoodbets Greyville on any ordinary Sunday,” he laughs nervously, as he recalls what happened next, as we asked him if it felt as breathtaking as it looked.

“Yes, it did! Summer Pudding is a superstar, so I always knew she would keep giving it to me. At the 200m, she saw Lady Of Steel and her champion mindset kicked in. Then I felt that I had it. She made the ground up in double quick time. She’s brilliant. Well done to the Paul Peter stable and the Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein teams. I just did the riding. There was a lot more that went into the victory behind the scenes. Seven from seven – she has sure earned her break. What a horse!”

Summer Pudding and Warren Kennedy – is led in by the Peters (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

On Rainbow Bridge’s Philanthropist half-brother Golden Ducat’s third placed effort in the Gr1 Daily News, Warren says that he is a big rangy horse and that Bernard Fayd’herbe rode a good race on the winner Got The Greenlight, who actually turns it on quicker than his mount.

“Bernard was in a perfect position behind me and when Anton’s (Marcus) horse moved on to me, I had to keep Golden Ducat on the wrong foot for probably another 100m. I’m not saying I would have beaten Got The Greenlight, but my mount takes his time to get going and I have no doubt I would have finished closer and secured a clear second.”

Warren points out that Golden Ducat, like Got The Greenlight, was having only his second start at Hollywoodbets Greyville and will have benefitted from the experience.

“I can’t speak for his programme, but I am sure that Mr Eric Sands and Mr and Mrs Rattray would enjoy having a ‘double spear’ attack in a great race like the Durban July, and Golden Ducat will undoubtedly benefit from the extra 200m there. He won the Cape Derby and is a class 3yo.”

Warren thanked his sponsors, as well as the owners and trainers, and all their support teams that made his job ‘a pleasure’.

“To Winning Form and Hollywoodbets, who sponsored their first Gr1 in the Gold Challenge, I can only say a massive word of appreciation. Racing desperately needs all the support, and personally it’s an absolute honour and privilege to enjoy the encouragement, professionalism and team spirit that prevails,” he said in conclusion.

Warren is currently on 199 winners for the season – he rides at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Wednesday

Watch the Locked & Loaded interview with Warren Kennedy here

Warren’s Gr1 Winning Form Pudding & Pie for Wagga! Share Sunday was a red-letter day for Winning Form- sponsored SA Champion jockey elect Warren Kennedy. He doubled his career

Wetherby report: Roksana returns to winning form with stylish success

Watch and read all about the supporting races at Wetherby on Saturday, where Dan Skelton’s Grade One-winning mare Roksana oozed class in the bet365 Hurdle.

Roksana quickened up impressively to win the bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby in fine fashion.

Dan and Harry Skelton have an impressive strike-rate at the West Yorkshire track and their well-backed 13-8 favourite further augmented their tally with a taking success.

Having been dropped out towards the rear, Roksana loomed up looking a huge threat at the third last and the only question was how much she had left in the locker.

Stayers’ Hurdle winner Lisnagar Oscar and Next Destination, having his first start for Paul Nicholls, both looked to be travelling well, but neither had an answer to the mare.

Roksana put the race to bed in a matter of strides, scooting eight and a half lengths clear of Next Destination, with Kildisart in third and Lisnagar Oscar fourth.

Skelton said: “She’s magic. We were always going down the Mares’ Hurdle route last year as she’d obviously won it the year before. She ran well and we were looking forward to Aintree, but obviously Covid put a stop to that.

“We always knew three miles was going to come one day. We’re probably six months behind it happening for obvious reasons.

“I’m delighted with her today. She was getting the allowances and we’re under no illusions about how much the likes of Lisnagar Oscar and others are going to improve as the season progresses, but she did everything right.

“We’ll let the others scrap it out in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and we’ll perhaps aim for the Long Walk at Ascot. We might enter her in Ireland (Leopardstown) as well, just in case the restrictions lift for the Christmas meeting.

“We’ll see what the spring brings. The owners aren’t set on Cheltenham, so there’s every possibility she could miss Cheltenham and go straight to Aintree.

“It’s potentially her last season, but we’re under no illusions about how good a racemare she is and if we think there’s another good year in her, then she could come back.”

Nicholls said of Next Destination: “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with that – it was an awesome run.

“He’s been off an awful long time. I couldn’t take him away anywhere to gallop because the ground has been too firm, so that’s probably the first time he’s worked on grass since the last time he ran.

“He travelled beautifully and jumped beautifully – he’ll be a right chaser.

“We’ve schooled him over fences and I think that (novice chasing) will be the plan now.”

Mrs Hyde proved too strong for Grade One-winning mare Verdana Blue in the bet365 Mares’ Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson’s 2018 Christmas Hurdle heroine was the 5-6 favourite to get back on the winning trail, having filled the runner-up spot behind Silver Streak in a Listed event at Kempton a fortnight ago.

Verdana Blue had upwards of 22lb in hand over her six rivals in West Yorkshire on official ratings, but came up short in the rain-softened ground.

The Brian Ellison-trained Mrs Hyde had won on the same Kempton card a couple of weeks ago and was a 6-1 shot to double her Listed tally in the hands of Daryl Jacob.

Verdana Blue loomed up ominously in the home straight, but Mrs Hyde refused to bend on the run-in and saw her off by a neck.

“She’s never stopped improving,” said Ellison.

“When she won at Southwell and Perth during the summer, she made the running, but after she got beat at Market Rasen we decided we’d drop her in and give her a chance. It worked at Kempton and it’s worked again today.

“Daryl said he got to the front a bit early today. The plan was to sit until the last and try to pick the favourite off.

“She’s won on soft ground today and won on good to firm. She’s tough.”

Considering future plans, the trainer added: “She’s won four of her last five races now and we might just give her a break.

“I know she’s won twice left-handed now, but I do think she’s better right-handed, so we could go back to Kempton or somewhere like that.”

Sean Bowen delivered Irish raider Hear No Evil with a well-timed challenge to claim the Price Promise At bet365 Handicap Chase.

The 16-1 shot was settled at the rear of the field for much of the three-mile contest, but came home strongly to score by nine and a half lengths from Grange Ranger.

It was a welcome boost for trainer Noel Kelly, who had to withdraw stable star Decor Irlandais from the Grade Two bet365 Hurdle later in the afternoon.

He said: “Decor Irlandais is here, but he pulled off a shoe. It’s a bit frustrating, but at least he didn’t break a tendon or something. It’s only a pulled shoe and it’s not the end of the world.

“We bought this horse (Hear No Evil) out of Dan Skelton’s yard. We said to Sean ‘take your time and if they go too fast, he’ll keeping plugging on’. He gave him a brilliant ride, I thought.”

Skelton’s Ashtown Lad displayed courage and class in equal measure to win a bet365 Novices’ Hurdle run in atrocious conditions.

Narrowly beaten over the course and distance on his previous outing, the 11-10 favourite was sent straight to the lead by Harry Skelton and jumped slickly and travelled strongly, despite the driving rain, on his way to a near three-length verdict.

A sodden Dan Skelton said: “He’s a very nice horse and he has a good attitude, obviously, to go from the front in that weather.

“He’s a chaser really and I always felt like this was a good horse.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do now. I’ll talk to Darren (Yates, owner) and decide.”

Tom George and Johnny Burke combined to claim the bet365 Handicap Chase with 9-1 shot Minella For Me.

Carrying the colours of owner Simon Clarke, whose popular grey Nacarat won the Charlie Hall Chase on this card a decade ago, Minella For Me passed the post with five and a half lengths in hand over 100-30 favourite Guy.

Burke said: “He’s a very honest horse. He used to be quite keen, but he’s grown up a lot and is settling well and jumping well.

“He’s a good, fun horse for his owner Simon, who has been a great supporter of Tom.”

Watch and read all about the supporting races at Wetherby on Saturday, where Dan Skelton's Grade One-winning mare Roksana oozed class in the bet365 Hurdle. ]]>