Bumper day for Skeltons

News of the action from Warwick where Cause Toujours earned quotes for the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.

Tyrell responded to the fitting of blinkers

It was a case of saving the best until last at Warwick after Cause Toujours took apart his rivals in the fashion of horse destined for bigger and better things in the eventmasters.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

While he unseated his rider on his sole point-to-point outing in the spring, the Dan Skelton-trained four-year-old barely got out of second gear to claim a two-mile contest which was landed by subsequent Grade One winner Barters Hill a couple of years ago.

Ridden by the trainer's brother Harry, the 5/2 favourite comfortably stretched seven lengths clear to earn an opening quote of 16/1 for the Champion Bumper.

However, the Alcester handler all but ruled out an appearance at the Cheltenham Festival in favour of a trip to either Newbury or Aintree.

Skelton said: "To be fair when we bought him Timmy (Hyde) told me 'believe me on this one, just because he has run in a point-to-point, it doesn't mean he is a three miler'. He is not that at all. He is a pacey horse.

"He has done really well but I've not been hard on him at home. We've just got to respect his talent.

"He will probably go to Newbury on Denman Chase day for the Listed bumper, unless it is soft or heavy, then we will leave him until Aintree."

Willoughby Court (3/1) advanced his case to fill the void left by the injured Barters Hill at Ben Pauling's yard with a front-running victory in the Wrights Of Campden Maiden Hurdle.

Despite having been turned over on his hurdling debut at Market Rasen last month, the five-year-old stuck to the task well to take the prize by three-quarters of a length and score at the meeting for the second successive year having claimed the bumper 12 months ago.

Pauling said: "Obviously it was a big disappointment last time out but to be fair the horse never realised he had a race. The idea was to go to somewhere and pick up a race. We came here against what was quite a hot field.

"It's a huge relief getting his head in front and for him to do himself justice as he is a nice horse.

"We will do what we always do and go steady. We're not going to do nothing exciting yet. He will have to win one under a penalty first."

Briery Belle (9/4 favourite) matched her smart form over hurdles when maintaining her unbeaten record over the fences in the inaugural running of the Lady Godiva Mares' Novices' Chase.

Having ended last term with Listed win over hurdles at Cheltenham, the seven-year-old showed stamina to be her strong point to gain a second chase win, wearing down long-time leader Desert Queen and pulling six lengths ahead.

Winning trainer Henry Daly said: "She was good at Carlisle and was good today. I think she is probably better on faster ground but she showed she can handle it.

"That's probably her minimum trip. She wants two-and-a-half plus. There is a Listed mares' race at Leicester in February but I'd like to run her before then."

The re-application of a set of blinkers appeared to have the desired effect on Alan King's Tyrell (9/4) after he ground out victory at the second time of asking over jumps in the eventmasters.co.uk Juvenile Hurdle.

King said: "He's done the job well. He would have learnt plenty from Exeter. We put the blinkers back on. He is not ungenuine, it just gets him focused.

"He showed on the Flat he is a galloper."

Brandon Hill (3/1 joint-favourite) continued the good run of Tom Lacey when carrying top-weight to glory in the John Gallagher Handicap Chase, while jockey James Banks saw his 184-day wait for a winner come to an end when steering the Emma Baker-trained Arquebusier (5/1) home in front in the TFG Group Handicap Chase.

The Paul Cowley-trained Seas Of Green (25/1) took his second win in the Vendman Handicap Hurdle having claimed the two-mile-five-furlong contest back in 2014.

Read More at Sporting Life

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