HARRIET Graham praised James Reveley after the Saltburn jockey got his fractions spot on from the front on Scotswell in the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick.
Graham, who also owns and bred the 5-1 favourite, was almost lost for words after the nine-year-old held off the late thrust of Herdsman by a neck.
As well as training a small string, Graham divides her time between being clerk of the course at both Perth and Musselburgh.
Bounced out in front, Reveley got his mount into a great rhythm with the race changing complexion when Barton Gift slipped up on the level just before the home turn and Whats Up Woody running on empty.
It was left to Herdsman, hard ridden a long way out, to throw down the challenge, but the loose horse on the inside of Scotswell just perked him up for the final 100 yards.
“He’s a funny horse because we just can’t get to the bottom of him,” said a delighted Graham.
“He’s very one-paced but he just keeps on galloping which is why we have to ride him like we do. James is brilliant for him, there is nobody better at getting one jumping as well as he does. We’ll have a look out for another long-distance race for him.”
Teenage conditional Sean Bowen, who had been in a rich vein of form, was taken to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough with a suspected shoulder injury after a fall from Milborough at the first.
There was a double on the card for Sue Smith courtesy of novice hurdler Hainan, who was given a fine ride by Harry Haynes – this looks a three-mile chaser in the making – and the Dougie Costello-ridden Emral Silk.
This was a second win for Haynes since teaming up with the Smith stable as he looks to get his career back on track.
“It was a little bit of a surprise, but he’s a lovely big horse. He was getting weight off them as a four-year-old and had bits and pieces of form in France. He’ll make a lovely chaser,” said Haynes, who will be at Warwick tomorrow to partner permit holder Phil Middleton’s Crabbie’s Grand National prospect Night In Milan in the Betfred Classic Chase.
Gavin Sheehan, last year’s champion conditional, also continued his phenomenal run of success in Yorkshire this season when winning on chaser Cody Wyoming.
Meanwhile, racegoers at Doncaster are in for a treat today when 2011 Cheltenham Bumper winner Cheltenian takes on last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner-up Josses Hill.
The Philip Hobbs-trained Cheltenian has suffered with injuries and turns his attentions to chasing rather late in life at nine.
However, jockey Richard Johnson has been delighted with his schooling at home ahead of the horse’s novice chase debut.
“I schooled him on Saturday and he felt really well and Doncaster should be the ideal place for him to start,” said Johnson.
“He showed he was up to a decent level over hurdles and he should be a top-class novice chaser this season.
“He’ll start at two miles. He’s not slow, but I’m sure he’ll want further as the season goes on.”
Nicky Henderson’s Josses Hill recently made his chasing debut at Ascot, where he was a beaten odds-on favourite behind Ptit Zig.
“It’s lovely ground, and that is the main reason why we are going,” said trainer Nicky Henderson. “It’s a good race, though. We’ve always felt he’d be a nice chaser.”
Henderson has also confirmed that Simonsig, a long-term absentee from the track, will miss the whole season after the grey was a notable omission from yesterday’s first entries for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Now a nine-year-old, Simonsig has not been seen since winning the Arkle in 2013.
He missed all of last season with a splint problem and Henderson stated recently a new issue had cropped up, putting him out of the picture for the foreseeable future.
“We’ve pulled stumps for now,” said the Seven Barrows handler.
“We do still have the likes of Captain Conan and Finian’s Rainbow to return.”
Trainer David Bridgwater appears set to face action from the British Horseracing Authority over comments attributed to him in the wake of a 21-day ban for young rider Jake Launchbury at Ludlow on Wednesday.
Launchbury, 16, was suspended after nearly taking the wrong course on Bally Sands at the final fence of the ‘hands and heels’ handicap. Bally Sands is trained by Bridgwater, who was unhappy at the length of the ban for Launchbury in particular and was quoted referring to the stewards’ room as having “the same idiots there that were there when I was riding 20 years ago” before adding “I think they must still have been p****d from lunch”.