Desert Sensation stars at Ascot

News of the rest of the action from a fog-bound Ascot where Desert Sensation and Sam Twiston-Davies won the opener.

Desert Sensation made all the running in the Foundation Developments Novices' Handicap Hurdle in the hands of Sam Twiston-Davies at a fog-bound Ascot.

Though bred for middle distances, the son of Authorized has taken well to staying hurdles.

The Dr Richard Newland-trained four-year-old followed up last month's win at Exeter in comfortable fashion, with Twiston-Davies setting a sensible, even gallop throughout.

The 6/1 chance maintained a length lead on the second circuit, with his rider extending that advantage early in the straight once long-time combatant Wylde Magic began to fade.

Though runner-up Ballinure and Walt gave chase, the winner put in foot-perfect leaps over the last two hurdles to seal victory by two and three-quarter lengths.

The winning trainer said: "We have 12 in the Doom Bar Beech Club syndicate and it is fantastic for them. He had already exceeded expectations, winning a couple already, as he was a very cheap buy.

"But to come to Ascot and win is dream for them. Three of my nephews – Rupert, Oliver and William Newland – are in the syndicate.

"They had strict instructions to find a horse for six grand between 12 of them, so it has all worked out quite well. There are no plans. This was the plan.

"But he is only four, so we might just give him a break, because he seems to keep improving. He is a very strong stayer and it is not in the pedigree at all that he should be as he is related to milers.

"He clearly doesn't know. It may be because he has always been running within himself, so we put a visor on and that may have helped him get the trip."

The Ian Williams-trained Poker School made the most of his fly-weight to come from out of the clouds to power home in the BGC Partners Handicap Chase in the hands of 5lb claimer Donagh Meyler.

The six-year-old, co-owned by top golfer Lee Westwood and his manager Chubby Chandler, was settled in midfield as Jonny Og and Dusky Lark set the early pace before making stealthy headway down the back straight on the final circuit.

He appeared to relish the hold-up tactics and came motoring down the straight to lead at the last.

The 8/1 shot eventually drew five lengths clear of Dusky Lark, with Dark Flame staying on for third, a further length and a quarter back.

Chandler said: "That was brilliant. It is lovely when you have a plan and it works. We didn't think there was any races for him but a month ago, Ian said he thought there might be.

"But he travels well and he's now started jumping well.

"It is what racing is all about for us. What we are is really good, mug owners.

"We love it, we enjoy the day out. We know enough about it to have some fun, we know enough about it to have a little input, but tiny.

"And we know Ian is the best. He needs more exposure, because he is brilliant."

Read More at Sporting Life

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