Escape offers a bright future
News of the early action from Ascot where the highly promising Elegant Escape ran out a resolute winner of the opener.
Elegant Escape showed plenty of courage and determination to preserve his unbeaten status under rules in the Mitie Events & Leisure Novices' Hurdle at Ascot.
After getting up close home to register a debut victory over hurdles at Chepstow, the Colin Tizzard-trained four-year-old appeared to appreciate the step up to an extended two-mile-five furlongs in an entertaining finish.
Moving into the lead on the run down to two out the 8/1 shot was quickly joined for company by favourite Laser Light and useful chaser Aloomomo.
Although headed by Laser Light over both the second-last and final flight, the 150,000 euro purchase was not to be denied as he valiantly fought back past the market leader to score by three-quarters of a length.
Tizzard's son and assistant, Joe, said: "He is a lovely horse. He is just a big baby, but he is only four years old and that was only his third run. He is learning all the time and has a big engine.
"Tom O'Brien gave him a lovely educational ride at Chepstow and never touched him with the stick.
"It was a step up today, but he is one of those we are going to be sensible with. We are very aware he is a big baby that we want over fences in a couple of years time.
"That (Albert Bartlett) is in the back of our minds and he is already in the picture for that, but we will be looking after him and there are no immediate plans."
Beware The Bear made a perfect start to life over fences in an incident-packed Bam Construct UK Chase.
The field of nine, which was taken along for much of the way by Dawson City, was quickly reduced to six as Duelling Banjos, Royal Milan and Expedite all came to grief at the first.
Having taken the field along from flag-fall Dawson City was headed over the fourth-last by the strong-travelling Singlefarmpayment and the eventual winner.
As that pair moved on to battle it out over the final two fences, it was the Nicky Henderson-trained runner that emerged victorious to back up hurdle wins at Bangor and Southwell in the spring.
The 4/1 joint-favourite pulled clear to oblige by two and three-quarter lengths and the in-form Henderson said: "These novice chasers are starting to do what we thought they would do. They are a strong squad.
"Jeremiah (McGrath) said he will win the Welsh National, but not this season – perhaps in three years' time.
"We will stay at three (miles) and it looks like he goes in the soft, so it leaves plenty of options. He is a horse for the future as much as for today."
Jack Sherwood celebrated his second winner at the track in as many days after steering Lifeboat Mona to victory on her seasonal return in the Trisoft Mares' Handicap Hurdle.
After galvinising Present Man to victory at the course 24 hours the 5lb claimer enjoyed a much easier time aboard the six-year-old in the extended two-mile-five affair.
As bottom weight Loves Destination attempted to slip clear of the field rounding the home turn the 3/1 favourite immediately went off in pursuit with Sherwood seemingly content to sit and bide his time.
Once pressing the button on the Paul Nicholls-trained mare the response was instant with the pair pulling impressively clear to score by eight lengths.
The victory completed an across-the-card double for the winning trainer and owners Axom Racing following the victory of Tagrita earlier in the afternoon at Huntingdon.
Assistant trainer Harry Derham said: "It was a good performance. The slow pace was always going to suit her as she has a real sharp turn of foot.
"We will keep her in these mares' hurdle races. It was another good ride from Jack Sherwood and it is really good for Axom."
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