HENRY BROOKE’S enterprise paid off when Get On The Jager won a frantic finish to Wetherby’s feature Rowland Meyrick Chase.
The Middleham jockey texted trainer Dan Skelton’s younger brother Harry throughout last week pleading for the right on the bottom weight.
And Brooke’s persistence was rewarded with a second successive victory in a celebrated race named after the former clerk of the course at the track.
Yet, while Definitly Red’s classy victory 12 months ago could not have been more emphatic, the only time Get On The Jager was in front was on the line after a pulsating finish to the £40,000 race.
Sue Smith’s Delusionofgrandeur looked the more likely winner before an error two out, gifting the advantage to stablemate Wakanda who wasn’t foot perfect at the last.
However, Get On The Jager, ridden patiently, landed running and just denied Wakanda, ironically last year’s runner up, in a photo-finish with Delusionofgrandeur a neck behind in third.
“I was begging Harry through the week for the ride,” said an elated Brooke who was enjoying his first ride for the Skelton stable. “It’s great riding big winners on the big days for the big yards.
“He’s a very genuine horse and I’d say there’s more to come. Harry told me what to do and I just followed his instructions. It’s brilliant.”
Skelton’s assistant Tom Messenger suggested Warwick’s long distance Classic Chase could be the target for the winner.
He said: “The further he went, the better we went. Henry’s first ride on the horse, he gave it a fantastic ride. With a lot of racing, we needed to get a jockey booked and Henry had been texting Harry for the ride. He was keen.”
Earlier Cook and Smith won the three-mile novice chase with Dick Darsie who was the beneficiary of long-time leader Honest Intent’s fatal fall at the penultimate fence. Though champion jockey Richard Johnson rode a double on Petticoat Tails and Dalaman, he was stood down after being concussed when unseated from Grey Gold in the two-and-a-half mile chase won by Caraline for in-form Grade One-winning Middleham jockey, Joe Colliver.