HORSE RACING - McCracken celebrates success with Upagainstit and Greatrex resurgence continues at Warwick - The Leamington Observer

HORSE RACING - McCracken celebrates success with Upagainstit and Greatrex resurgence continues at Warwick

Leamington Editorial 24th Mar, 2023   0

OWNER Charlotte McCracken went from being a bag of nerves to all smiles at Warwick following the debut victory over fences for Upagainstit, who she admitted to ‘chasing to the finish line’ in the Every Race Live On Racing TV Novices’ Handicap Chase.

Few people left the course happier than McCracken after the Donald McCain-trained six year old opened his account over larger obstacles at the first time of asking under Tom Bellamy in the two-mile contest.

Having fared moderately in four starts over hurdles this season the gelded son of Presenting looked much more at home switched to fences when rallying in determined fashion to deny 19-race maiden Eros a first victory under Rules by a neck.

McCracken said of her 12-1 winner: “I was chasing (him) to that finish line. To be honest, he probably doesn’t want it that soft but his jumping has won him the race.

“That’s what we brought him for to go over fences. He hadn’t done anything wrong over hurdles and he is a really nice horse.

“He didn’t handle Sedgefield last time and that was probably not the right track for him. We had him in at Market Rasen yesterday but we took him out as the ground was heavy.

“I was a bag of nerves today as the fences take a bit of jumping around here.

“I was hoping for the best and I really just wanted to see him have a nice round of jumping but I’m delighted he has won.”

Things are about to get even more exciting away from the racetrack for McCracken with her now-retired Listed winner Bannixtown Glory set to give birth to a foal by Blue Bresil, who is the sire of Champion Hurdle winner Constitution Hill, on April 5th.

She added: “Bannixtown Glory is in foal and is due to give birth shortly and hopefully the goal will make its way through to be trained by Donald (McCain).

“She was an amazing mare and I don’t think I will ever have another one like her. She was a star.”

Warren Greatrex has endured a tough time over the last few seasons, however Art Of Illusion (4-1) continued his recent resurgence when securing him winner number 20 for the campaign in the Allen Family Thank Macmillan Cancer Support Handicap Chase.

After finishing in the frame in eight of his previous 11 starts the progressive six year old secured a third victory over fences this term when obliging by a length and three quarters under rising star of the weighing room Dylan Kitts.

Greatrex said: “He is a model of consistency this horse. Since we have changed him to fences he has been a different horse. I’ve been wanting to come here with him but it has been a case of finding the right race for him as this course is made for him.

“He has just got better and better. He is only a six year old and there is likely to be further improvement I’d say.

“Dylan is a good lad. I’ve had some good ones through my hands like Gavin Sheehan and Harry Bannister and he is up there with them. He is very talented and he will be a name to remember.

“That was my 20th winner of the season which is my best total for four seasons. If we could squeeze out to 25 winners by the end of the season I would be really happy.”

Dan Skelton pointed to the combination of a drop back in trip and more pressing tactics behind the improved performance from Mount Tempest who proved a cut above his rivals in the feature Bet At Handicap Hurdle.

Having found two and a half miles stretching his stamina last time out at Ffos Las the Walk In The Park gelding looked more at home dropped in distance when accounting for Swinging London by seven and a half lengths.

Skelton said of the successful 100-30 joint favourite: “I was very happy with him coming into today. He didn’t stay two and a half miles last time.

“The step back to two miles and more pressing tactics clearly suited this horse much better.

“He has now won two hurdle races and for a horse that stands at 17 hands I am delighted with his season. I’ve every expectation that he will be better next season when he goes over fences.”

Jumping errors might have cost Uncle Bert any chance of victory in his two most recent starts but there was no such issues on route to his eight length success in the Join Racing TV Now Maiden Hurdle.

Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer, said of the winning 6-5 Favourite: “It was lovely to get his head in front today. He jumped much better today and that is what made the difference.

“He jumped well the first two times he ran then the last two times his jumping has let down a bit. He has just taken a bit of getting himself together as he is a big horse. He was back to two miles today so we had to be positive on him.

“He is a homebred of James and Jean’s (Potter) and Pether’s Moon is a nice young stallion. He will definitely have another run this season and he could step up in grade but we will talk to everybody and see.”


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