19th Dec 2023

Report from Christmas Sky Bet Raceday, Tuesday 19th December


Sean Bowen bagged his 118 and 119th winners of the season at the top of the jump jockeys’ championship when Gold Clermont won the marathon Sky Bet Handicap Chase.

Bowen steered the Andy Irvine trained mare wide, seeking better ground, and produced the 17/2 chance to win comfortably from Eceparti.

“Sean gave her a superb ride. We are aiming for the Sussex National but she definitely wants soft ground. Sean was free to ride and I’m delighted to help him have another winner in his quest for the title,” said Irvine.

It was Bowen’s was first winner at the course for five years and 30 minutes later he had an easier victory on For Pleasure for trainer Olly Murphy in the Sky Bet Handicap Hurdle, scoring by 15 lengths.

The result was never in doubt with Bowen dominating to win on For Pleasure’s debut run for Murphy after leaving Alex Hales’ stable, returned at 3/1.

Lucy Turner had a great ride on the Venetia Williams trained grey gelding Georges Saint who landed the feature Sky Bet Female Jockeys’ Chase at 5/2.

“He jumped superbly throughout and travelled really well,” said Turner, who continued Williams’ fabulous current hot streak in beating William Cody to land the £20,000 contest.

Jacks Touch won the Mares’ Handicap Chase for Sarah Humphrey and Daryl Jacob. The eight-year-old was third at Fakenham in November having won at Leicester the previous day.

“I ran her then because it was a four-runner race and I felt sorry for Fakenham who put on excellent prize money, so I ran her to support the course,” said Humphrey. Formidable

“She’s tough and lightly raced for her age so I wasn’t surprised she delivered today,” she added. Jacks Touch held off fast-finishing Lincoln Lyn to score at 7/2 by half a length.

Dan Skelton’s Lady Berlais didn’t see a rival in the two-mile Mares’ Novices Handicap Hurdle, winning under Charlie Todd, returned at 9/2. Third last time out, the five-year-old showed improvement to beat six rivals.

There was an impressive winner of the opening Nar Valley Bloodhounds Maiden Hurdle with Alice Stevens on the Ben Brookhouse trained West Warhorse to an easy 16-length success. The 5/1 chance stormed home in the second hurdles run of his career.

The closing Each Business Circle Norfolk Handicap Hurdle went to Lilly Pinchin on board the James Owen trained top weight Edison Kent who stormed clear to win from 7/2 favourite Copshill Lad by 23 lengths, returned at 8/1.

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David Hunter