FORMER professional footballer Ben Turner found himself on the scoresheet at Warwick after Marsh Wren demonstrated the best of her battling abilities to make a winning start over fences in the Duncan Smith Over The Hill Birthday Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase.
The ex-Coventry City, Cardiff City and Burton Albion defender saw the silks of his Far Bihoue Partnership carried to glory by the Stuart Edmunds-trained mare on her chasing debut in the two-and-a-half-mile test.
The 12-1 chance shrugged off the burden of top-weight to battle bravely under Ciaran Gethings and repel fellow chasing newcomer Game On For Glory from the yard of Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham by a length and three quarters.
Edmunds said: “She was in at Exeter a few days before in a Listed chase down there as we think she is capable enough of running at that level as she has schooled very well.
“It was good to soft down there and we didn’t want to get all the way there to find that the ground had dried out so we committed to going to Warwick and thankfully it worked out.
“Her jumping at home was superb, but she has always been very brave and ballsy. She just loves soft ground and when it is a tough test.”
Marsh Wren is now likely to bid for another course and distance success after Edmunds earmarked the Listed Lady Godiva Mares’ Novices’ Chase on December 14 as her next target.
He added: “Marsh Wren will probably now go back to Warwick for the Listed race mares’ novices’ chase now over the same trip and hopefully it will keep raining to make that ground really soft.
“She was quite good over hurdles without getting black type but I’m confident she can get it over fences. It was always the idea to go chasing with her as she quite a big mare.”
Moreover, Grade Two-winning hurdler Thomas Darby secured his most valuable victory over fences after returning to form in the John Sumner Memorial Veterans Handicap Chase.
Trained by Wilmcote handler Olly Murphy the evergreen 10-year-old showed he still retains plenty of ability after successfully building on his comeback effort at Chepstow in the three-mile feature.
Jumping well throughout the 7-2 chance stuck to the task in game fashion in the hands of jockeys’ championship leader Sean Bowen to defeat Mill Green by a length and three quarters.