sport

Hard work pays off for Drake

There was a real family affair at Wetherby as Work Boy provided permit-holder Richard Drake with his first ever winner.

Drake's daughter, Samantha, was in the saddle and she was wearing the colours of her mother, Janet in the New Racing UK Anywhere Available Now Handicap Chase.

Work Boy won four races for Sue and Harvey Smith but was troubled by tendon problems and had well over two years off before the Drakes picked him up.

The irony will not have been lost on the Smiths as Work Boy wore down their Whiskey Ridge after the last to win by half a length at 7-1.

"As a family we've had winners pointing but they were never in my name," said Richard Drake, who is based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.

"This is my first winner officially and my first under Rules. He'd been stood in a field for nearly three years when we got him and Sue said to see what we could do with him.

"He'd had a leg (problem) and was one of the fattest horses you'd ever seen. It took us about four months to get him fit enough to run and he ran OK at Sedgefield and we thought he'd come on for it."

Henry Brooke could come in for a lot of nice mounts in the closing weeks of the season as Jason Maguire recovers from serious injury.

Brooke is understudy to Maguire at Donald McCain's yard and was seen to good effect on Askamore Darsi (7-2) in the Wetherby Racecourse Family Sunday - 13th April Novices' Hurdle.

Having looked beaten over the last, the five-year-old rallied to beat Almost Gemini by three-quarters of a length.

"The cheekpieces helped, but it was still hard work," said Brooke. "You'd think the way he is he'd like deep ground but he never went a yard on it last time. He'll be better off over fences next year."

Oliver's Hill (7-1) benefited from a change of scenery to open his account at the first time of asking for Charlie Longsdon in the Watch Racing UK On Sky 432 Maiden Hurdle.

Having shown glimpses of form in a bumper and a novice hurdle in Ireland for Colin Bowe, Longsdon stepped in to buy him.

Rock A Doodle Doo gave him plenty to do in the straight and neither looked like they were putting it all in, but Andrew Tinkler got Oliver's Hill home by a length and a quarter.

Tinkler later doubled up in the closing bumper aboard Tim Fitzgerald's newcomer Supasundae (9-2).

Have You Had Yours (11-2) relished the return to a faster surface, jumping boldly out in front to land the wetherbyracing.co.uk Novices' Handicap Chase.

Trainer Jane Walton, sister of Knockara Beau's handler George Charlton, had waited patiently for the ground to dry up and was rewarded with this four-and-a-half-length defeat of Teenage Dream.

"He won a point-to-point on firm so we've been waiting for his ground for three years," she said. "We've got eight horses, four of them are five-year-olds ready to run in bumpers."

Fiddlers Reel (7-2) gave the prolific Ryan Mania another winner in the Follow At WetherbyRaces On Twitter Handicap Chase.

Trainer Jane Clark, sister of Sandy Thomson of Seeyouatmidnight fame, had to stop a couple of times on the way down from Kelso to be sick as she was so worried with nerves.

"I thought he'd run well. I ride him out every morning, he means so much to me," said Clark, who also owns and bred the horse.

"The problem we've had with him is the last two winters have been so bad we haven't been able to train him."

Cheltenham winner Brian Hughes conjured up a victorious run on Feast Of Fire (8-1) in the Watch Racing UK On Channel 432 Handicap Hurdle after getting the better of Parc Des Princes by two and a half lengths.

Mike Sowersby's seven-year-old was winning for the first time in 13 career races.