Seventy reasons to smile
A review of the pick of the day's action from Wincanton, where Red Seventy struck gold for trainer David Pipe.
Red Seventy is set to be a regular in two-mile handicap hurdles after getting off the mark over jumps at Wincanton.
Three-times a winner on the Flat for trainers Richard Hannon and Harry Dunlop, the Terry Neill-owned five-year-old added to David Pipe's seasonal tally.
The 7/2 joint-favourite, ridden by Tom Scudamore, held off Dragon's Den by two lengths in the Bathwick Tyres Salisbury Handicap Hurdle.
"Tom managed to get him settled and he probably appreciated the better ground. Fair play to the horse, he's battled all the way up the home straight which on the Flat at times he hasn't done," Pipe told Racing UK.
"This was an easier race. He's been taking on horses like Irving, Mountain King and Stand To Reason. I thought (a mark of) 117 was stiff enough, but they kept franking the form, so this looked an ideal race.
"We'll see what the handicapper does. He'll be in the all the two-mile handicap hurdles, basically. He should do better when we get some summer ground."
Benbens (8/11) overcame jumping errors to justify favouritism in the Bathwick Tyres Bridgwater Handicap Chase.
Leading before the last fence, Nigel Twiston-Davies' charge duly saw off Thomas Wild by two and a quarter lengths with the pacesetting Yellow Ball last of the trio.
"All three of them were hairy down the back the last time, but I gave him time to get going again and he was really good when he needed to be," said Sam Twiston-Davies, sporting the colours of leading Champion Hurdle fancy The New One.
Gentleman Jon (7/1) was always prominent as he opened his account over jumps at the second attempt in the Bathwick Tyres Poole Maiden Hurdle.
Joe Tizzard had the six-year-old, trained by his father Colin, on the heels of the long-timer leader Warrior Conquest before going on at the second-last.
Gentleman Jon had to kept up to his work to hold the 5/2 favourite The Green Ogre by two lengths.
"He ran all right in the autumn, but he's a big baby and he wasn't quite right so I couldn't run him," said the trainer.
"He's only just coming right now. I thought he would need the run. He'll be ideal for chasing next year."
Amateur Gordon Treacy enjoyed his first success in the saddle on Martin Cash (11/2) in the Bathwick Tyres Terry Biddlecombe First And Last Handicap Chase.
The 7lb claimer sent Paul Henderson's charge to the front before the third-last and went on to score by four and a half lengths.
Irish-born Treacy, who is based at Henderson's yard, said: "It's brilliant. We've only had this horse a month and we only gave him a spin round here to see how we got on.
"He travelled well throughout the whole race and he did it very well."
Fellow amateur Luke Kilgarriff also tasted success for the first time when steering home Warsaw Pact (33/1) in the Bathwick Tyres Dorchester Handicap Hurdle.
Steven Dixon's 11-year-old was five lengths too strong for Landerbee.
"I'm delighted. It's been a long time, but well worth the wait. I live locally and it's not quite sunk in. When you're finishing out the back or pulling up, it's tough," said Kilgarriff.
"I'm at Bath Spa University doing an education studies degree and that will qualify me to me to be a teacher."
However, victory came at a price as he was hit with a 15 day-ban for using his whip above the permitted level.
Victor Dartnall's Tolkeins Tango (5/2) got on top of Mic Aubin close home to lift the Bathwick Tyres Handicap Chase by three-quarters of a length under Jack Doyle.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Earthmoves (11/4), a half-brother to Champion Hurdle outsider Ptit Zig, just denied The Cider Maker on his debut in the Bathwick Tyres Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race.