Jedd O'Keeffe "elated" as Sam Spinner gains unlikely success on chasing debut

Wed 16 Oct 2019

Trainer Jedd O’Keeffe was “elated” to see stable star Sam Spinner make a winning debut over fences at Wetherby.

The seven-year-old enjoyed a tremendous campaign two seasons ago – landing a valuable handicap hurdle at Haydock and the Long Walk at Ascot before finishing fifth when favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

He was disappointing for much of last season, but proved his talent remains intact when posting a fine effort to fill the runner-up spot behind star stayer Paisley Park on his return to Prestbury Park in March.

Watch the full replay as Sam Spinner collars Beakstown to score

Making his first appearance since finishing down the field at the Grand National meeting at Aintree in April, Sam Spinner was a 5-4 shot under regular partner Joe Colliver, with the Dan Skelton-trained Beakstown the marginal favourite at 10-11.

Despite not always convincing in the jumping department, Beakstown looked set to prevail after regaining the lead rounding the home turn – at which stage Sam Spinner was being ridden along in fourth and seemingly had plenty to do.

However, the further he went the better O’Keeffe’s charge looked and he powered clear on the run-in for a three-length win.

O’Keeffe was at Tattersalls in Newmarket, from where he said: “I haven’t spoken to Joe or my assistant yet, but my initial thought is I’m elated.

“It took him a while to warm up, but he showed he can do everything – he got in tight at some fences and made a nice shape at others. Hopefully he has a good chance of making the grade as a chaser.

“He finished strongly and we know he’s going to be better over a longer trip. I’m just so pleased he’s made a good start and it looks like he could be the complete chaser.”

Considering future targets, the trainer added: “I think we’ll probably stay up north for the time being.

“I think there’s another novice chase for him at Wetherby on November 1, but that might come too soon. We’ll get him home and make a plan.”

Bookmakers Paddy Power cut Sam Spinner to 16-1 from 25-1 for the RSA Chase at next year’s Cheltenham Festival – and Colliver is looking forward to seeing him step up in trip.

“We went a good gallop, but that suited him as we know he wants three miles really,” said the jockey.

“He got in tight to a few fences, but it did him the world of good and it will help him learn his job.

“It looks like he’s going to make it as a chaser and with a bit of luck he might be even better than he was over hurdles.

“Thanks to Jedd and the owners for keeping faith in me and to Sam Spinner, as you can’t do it without the horse.”

Jatiluwih looks an exciting prospect for trainer Philip Hobbs and owner-jockey David Maxwell after making it four from four since arriving in Britain at Wetherby.

The French recruit was an 11-2 chance to add to his earlier wins at Ludlow, Chepstow and Sedgefield, with point-to-point graduate West Cork a warm order as the 6-5 favourite.

Despite getting loose before the start, Jatiluwih travelled through the race itself like a class act and proved five lengths too strong for the market leader.

Maxwell said: “He just jinked at a little puddle going to the start and I wasn’t ready for it, so I went out the side door and ended up on my backside. The last time that happened I actually won a Grade Three at Auteuil, so maybe I should do it more often!

“He’s a very good horse as he was giving weight to some good horses there. He’s a real pro and a joy to ride.”

The father-son combination of Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies landed the featured Bobby Renton Handicap Chase with Crievehill.

The Highclere Thoroughbred Racing-owned seven-year-old was last seen finishing fourth in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival and was renewing rivalry with Jonjo O’Neill’s Sky Pirate – seventh in the same race at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The 9-4 joint-favourites turned for home together and Sky Pirate looked to be travelling marginally better when crashing out four fences from home.

From there the result was never really in doubt, with Crievehill safely negotiating the remaining obstacles to score by nine lengths.

Sam Twiston-Davies said: “That’s a good start to his season. He could go further on better ground, but on softer ground he can run over two-and-a-half as he’s such a good jumper.”

Lady Shanawell registered her second victory over jumps in division one of the Quilter Cheviot Juvenile Hurdle.

A winner at Cartmel during the summer, Ben Haslam’s filly was pulled up when well-fancied to follow up at Hexham earlier this month.

She was sent off at 11-2 to bounce back and the made the most of the fall of even-money favourite Zeb Spirit – who was in command when coming to grief three flights from the finish – to score by a length and three-quarters under Richie McLernon.

Lady Shanawell did not return to the winner’s enclosure, but Haslam said: “She got a nick when the favourite came down. I think it’s just a superficial cut, but the vets obviously want to check her out.

“The saddle slipped at Hexham, but it might have been a blessing in disguise as it was very deep ground over two-and-a-half (miles). If that hadn’t happened she probably wouldn’t have been here today – sometimes these things happen for a reason.”

Favourite-backers enjoyed better fortune in division two as the Alex Hales-trained Maria Magdalena led her rivals a merry dance in the hands of 5lb claimer Connor Brace.

A back-to-back winner over hurdles at Market Rasen and Worcester in August, the daughter of Battle Of Marengo could only finish fifth when bidding for a hat-trick at Huntingdon a fortnight ago, but coasted to a seven-length success in West Yorkshire.

Hales said: “She’s a lovely filly and she’s been a great buy (cost 5,500 guineas in May). That’s four she’s won for us now – three races over hurdles and one on the Flat.

“She has a wonderful attitude, she’s as tough as nails and jumps well. She handled that softer ground today as well, which is good.”

Chris Grant’s Jacks Last Hope (13-2) followed up a last-time-out victory at Sedgefield with a determined display in the bet365 Charlie Hall Meeting 1st & 2nd November Handicap Hurdle, with Paddy Brennan the winning rider.

Grant said: “We ran him over fences last year, but he’s not the biggest and I think he’s a probably a better hurdler.

“He’s a summer horse really but he’s consistent and he won well.”

Ballyvic Boru was an 11-2 winner of the 100% Racing TV Profits Back To Racing Handicap Chase for Brian Ellison and Brian Hughes.

Ellison said: “He blew up at Kelso last time and we hoped he’d improve. I couldn’t see him being out of the three today, but I didn’t know if he’d win as he doesn’t always go through with it.”

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