Rainyday Woman impresses in Huntingdon victory
Rainyday Woman proved a cut above her rivals in the Fitzdares Club Adores Henrietta Knight Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race to form the highlight of a Huntingdon double for Paul Nicholls.
Having made a winning debut for the 11-times champion trainer at Stratford last month, the imposing five-year-old had little problem in following up, running out a decisive winner of the Listed prize.
Prominently-ridden throughout, the 7-2 joint-favourite galloped on strongly all the way to the line under Nicholls’ daughter, Megan, before scoring by three and a half lengths.
Assistant trainer Harry Derham said: “Megan felt like she had improved from Stratford and it looked like she had at home.
“I think the fact she is a big, strong mare in those conditions suited well as she stays very well.
“Meg was a bit concerned she did a fraction too much for the first mile, but I’d say she has a good level of ability.”
She will be one to really look forward to in mares' novice hurdles next season
Rainyday Woman is likely to wait until next season before having her attentions switched to hurdles, according to Derham.
He added: “I suspect we will stick to bumpers for this season. You could either go to the Listed bumper at Sandown or the Grade Two at Aintree for girls.
“She will be one to really look forward to in mares’ novice hurdles next season.”
Silent Revolution completed a brace for both Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden after landing the Fitzdares Wishes Everyone A Merry Christmas Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race by a short head.
Derham said of the 11-10 favourite: “He is a nice horse, but he wouldn’t want the ground that deep.
“He got done for a bit of toe turning in, but he showed a fantastic attitude for a young horse to stay on like that and get back up.”
Grade One-winning rider Cobden got off the mark aboard the Colin Tizzard-trained Premiumaccess, who opened his account under rules in the Google The Fitzdares Club Right Now Novices’ Handicap Chase, which the 17-2 shot claimed by a length.
Cobden said: “Last night I thought he would win as I schooled him the other week at the Tizzards.
“He has always shown he is a nice horse and he does work well, but he jumps exceptionally well.
“I thought today if he didn’t win off 110 I didn’t know anything about racing.”
Bryony Frost and Lucy Wadham struck gold together for the second time in three days following the nine-and-a-half-length victory secured by Eclair De Guye (6-1) in the Fitzdares Fancies Goose Over Turkey Handicap Chase.
Frost said: “He took a bit of time to warm up, but down the back he really started to jump.
“He made some good ground then and over the last mile he really started to operate.
“I enjoyed trying to work out what the best thing to do with him was and get him on my side.”
Her owners seemed to like me, thankfully, and the relationship has started to build
On the link up with Wadham, she added: “Leighton Aspell helped me loads with the first couple of rides and as he has now retired Lucy wanted a jockey.
“Her owners seemed to like me, thankfully, and the relationship has started to build.
“She is brilliant to work with.”
Niall Houlihan received an early Christmas present when eclipsing his previous best seasonal total of seven winners with a four-length victory aboard Zhiguli (5-2) in the Fitzdares Thanks Lily O’Shea This Christmas Handicap Hurdle.
Houlihan said of the Gary Moore-trained winner: “That’s eight winners for the season, which is great.
“There was no set target – just to ride as many winners as I could. I’m just happy to have beaten last year’s total.”