JAMES Best ensured he kept in the good books of his mother-in-law Celia Djivanovic after steering her pride and joy My Silver Lining to a tenacious success in the Wigley Group Classic Chase at Warwick.
Having finished second in her previous two starts since making a triumphant return to action at Wincanton in October, the eight-year-old daughter of Cloudings bounced back to winning ways in the three miles and five furlongs test which is Warwick’s most valuable race of the season.
Hitting the front after the third last, the 17-2 chance kept on in spirited fashion to defeat Galia Des Liteaux by three quarters of a length to give winning trainer Emma Lavelle her third success in the £100,000 race having won it in 2014 with Shotgun Paddy and in 2022 with Eclair Surf.
Best said: “I probably wear my heart on my sleeve, and I get very excited when days like this do happen.
“It’s just absolute magic as my mother-in-law owns this mare and my wife and two boys are here. It just means the absolute world.
“This mare is an absolute superstar and doesn’t know how to give in. She is just as tough as they come and a massive thank you to my mother-in-law for owning such a lovely mare.
“I have to say this is the best day of my career. Obviously it’s more sentimental as she is a family horse.”
Dan and Harry Skelton were out of luck with Galia Des Liteaux but the Shelfield Green-based brothers teamed up for a double at the track, completed by Grey Dawning in the Trustatrader Hampton Novices’ Chase.
Some 12 months after claiming the now defunct Grade Two Ballymore Leamington Novices’ Hurdle the seven-year-old grey struck at the same level over fences with a 14-length victory in the three-mile test which stablemate Galia Des Liteaux landed in 2023.
Harry said: “He has done it really well. I think he’ll get any trip with the way he races as he has a good attitude and falls behind the bridle a little bit.
“He has got plenty of ticks in the right boxes. He is progressive and who knows where he could end up.”
Etalon (1-6 favourite) got the ball rolling for the pair when defeating sole rival Salamanca Bay by 44 lengths in the Unibet Edward Courage Cup Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.