sport

Williams reaches for the Stars

Venetia Williams has started the season in unusually quick fashion and Stars Du Granits was part of an across-the-card double.

The Herefordshire trainer was also on the mark at Bangor with Quartz De Thaix and the Grand National-winning handler has bagged seven winners in the last week.

Stars Du Granits (9-2) had his task made easier when the favourite, Captain Sunshine, whipped round at the start of the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle at Exeter, but Liam Treadwell always looked confident and pounced after the final flight.

Andrew Tinkler, rider of the runner-up Lundy Sky, was given a three-day ban (November 28-30) for weighing in 2lb overweight.

Tinkler's day did get better, however, as he rode Henry Daly's Grove Pride, a fortunate winner of the Racing Welfare Jonny Brown Novices' Chase.

Sent off at 8-1 on his debut over the bigger obstacles, he was a decent novice hurdler last season, with a win at Ascot on his record.

Tinkler set out to make all on the Trevor Hemmings-owned chestnut, but he had the Paul Nicholls-trained Keppols Hill for company most of the way.

Turning into the straight Keppols Hill looked beaten but stayed on stoutly to take up the running and appeared to have the race won before taking a heavy fall at the last, allowing Grove Pride to come home 21 lengths clear of Talkonthestreet.

Jonjo O'Neill appears to have a nice prospect on his hands in the shape of Cloudy Copper (10-1) who ran out an easy winner of the Aggregate Industries Stoneycombe Novices' Hurdle.

Nicholls' Provo was backed into 1-3 favouritism after his Wincanton win, but Ruby Walsh looked worried at the third-last and Tony McCoy never moved a muscle as the former pointer cruised to a five-length win.

Colin Tizzard continues to bang in the winners and Milarrow (7-1) denied Williams' Sustainability in the Jack Fletcher Beginners' Chase.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Bold Henry was sent off the odds-on favourite but could manage only third under McCoy.

Richard Lee's Young Victoria (9-4 favourite) defied a penalty in the closing Roaring 20's Christmas Parties At Exeter Racecourse Mares' Novices' Hurdle under a rousing ride from Richard Johnson.