Jonniesofa back in business at Carlisle after lengthy layoff

Thu 26 Oct 2017

Jonniesofa made a triumphant return after 574 days on the sidelines in the Visit The All New Beginners' Chase at Carlisle.

The Grade Two-winning hurdler had been off the track since sustaining an injury in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, but vindicated the patience of trainer Rose Dobbin and her team to make a successful debut over the bigger obstacles.

Craig Nichol had Jonniesofa (11-4) to the fore right from the start over the two miles to ensure the race was more of a stamina test and so it proved, as the seven-year-old kept on strongly to win by a length and a half from Nuts Well, with Happy Diva third.

Dobbin said: "We're obviously over the moon with him. He ran a great race. He showed he's a very good jumper. The patience has been rewarded and it's onwards and upwards now, hopefully.

"I'll have a proper look, but I've always had it in my mind that I'd like to run him in the Paris Pike (Novices' Chase) at Kelso over three miles on December 10. I think that's probably where he'll go next."

Nichol endured mixed fortunes as he was suspended for two days after appearing to drop his hands and stop riding for two strides shortly before the winning post on Bigirononhiship in the Racing UK Handicap Chase, which cost him fourth place by a short head.

The stewards found Nichol had failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing.

The race was won by Courtown Oscar (7-1), who rallied in admirable fashion to overtake Presented up the hill from the last to register a fourth course success.

Philip Kirby's eight-year-old made most of the running and found more when headed by Presented to land the spoils by a length.

Barrys Jack was made to work hard to complete a hat-trick in the Bet At Intermediate Handicap Hurdle.

Brian Ellison's 4-7 shot only got the better of Spectator in the last half-furlong to win by two and a half lengths and supplement gains over the course and distance and at Perth under a strong drive from 5lb claimer Kaine Wood.

The Sue Smith-trained Never Up (5-1) made light of a 166-day absence as he ran his rivals ragged in the Racing UK Available In HD Handicap Chase. Danny Cook's mount set a strong pace and pulled out more at the business end to hold Calivigny by a length.

Donna's Delight (8-11 favourite) justified strong late support to land the odds in the Watch Racing UK On The Go Novices' Hurdle.

Sandy Thomson's grey travelled nicely throughout for Brian Hughes on his hurdling debut and pulled away from the final flight to score by five lengths from Arctic Vodka.

Durbanville (15-2) made a winning first appearance since joining trainer James Ewart when digging deep for jockey Henry Brooke to pip Towering by a head in a terrific finish to the Watch Racing UK On BT TV Handicap Hurdle.

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