Gilligan delighted to make Wetherby raid pay dividends

Family affair for trainer with son Jack aboard in West Yorkshire.

  • Wednesday 25 November
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Irish challenger Born By The Sea made a successful raid on Wetherby with victory in the Sixt Car Hire Intermediate Chase.

Trained by Galway-based Paul Gilligan, the six-year-old was the outsider of three runners at 7-1, with little to choose between 11-10 favourite Geordie B and 6-5 shot The Mulcair at the top of the market.

With several jumping errors leading to a disappointing display from Geordie B, it turned into a straight fight between Born To Sea and The Mulcair – and it was the former who prevailed by three-quarters of a length in the hands of the trainer’s son, Jack.

“It was a great ride from Jack, he did everything asked of him. He won it nicely,” the trainer said of the performance, which was the jockey’s first winner on English turf.

“Jack’s my son, so that adds to it,” he continued.

“It’s even better when it’s your own lad riding, it’s just fantastic. He’s a better horse fresh, so it’s possible we’ll wait now and enter him in a good race at Leopardstown over Christmas.”

Sue Smith’s Joke Dancer emerged victorious in a photo finish to claim the Watch The Jumps In HD On RacingTV Handicap Chase.

The 5-1 chance benefited from the application of cheekpieces and ran prominently throughout, finding himself heading the field alongside Rose Dobbin’s Some Reign over the last.

After wandering slightly off his path on the approach to the post, the gelding was joined by his challenger as he crossed the line and the judge was left to separate the runners, with Ryan Mania’s mount taking the race by short head.

Champion jockey Brian Hughes teamed up with trainer John Quinn to take the wetherbyracing.co.uk Juvenile Maiden Hurdle aboard 8-13 favourite First Impression.

The success was a first in the National Hunt sphere for the three-year-old, who was tackling hurdles for a third time after being previously campaigned by Quinn on the Flat.

“I’m very pleased with him, his jumping was better,” the trainer said.

“Brian said he’d have liked the ground a bit softer as it was drying up a bit sticky. I was pleased, he’s got his head in front now, which can only do him good. I’ll probably run him again around Christmas time.

“We hope he’s capable of winning a nice race in the spring, a novice handicap, a nice race somewhere. Until we get his rating and we run him again, we probably wouldn’t be making any hard or fast plans for him.

“I feel he’ll win a good pot somewhere along the line.”

A wind operation and a graduation to chasing seemed to make all the difference for Venetia Williams’ Funambule Sivola, who coasted to a seven-length success in the Watch Racing TV Anywhere Novices’ Handicap Chase.

Piloted by Charlie Deutsch, the 7-2 shot produced a smooth round of jumping to pull clear of Neil Mulholland’s 11-8 favourite Exelerator Express over the final fence.

Gemirande (17-2) later provided Deutsch and Williams with a second winner on the card when taking the two-mile Follow @racingtv On Twitter Novices’ Hurdle by three and three-quarter lengths.

Jumping the last level with 1-8 favourite Soaring Glory, the four-year-old was handed the race when his rival made a jumping error and fell, leaving the winner to gallop home unchallenged.

Elsewhere on the card, Ian Williams’ Sometimes Always (3-1) justified his place at the head of the market when taking the Visit injuredjockeys.co.uk For Christmas Cards Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle by six lengths under 3lb claimer Charlie Todd.

Division one of the EBF Stallions Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race went the way of Miss Lamb (5-1) for Jedd O’Keeffe and Joe Colliver, with division two claimed by Billams Legacy (3-1), ridden by Paddy Brennan for Fergal O’Brien.

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