FENTARA could yet go to the Cheltenham Festival after the mare ran a huge race in the Grade 2 totepool.com Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby Racecourse.
Tim Walford’s eight-year-old, trained in Sheriff Hutton, came to the last fence in the £30,500 race with every chance – having gone for home early in the home straight and engaging in a fierce duel with Super Duty.
But, ridden by Peter Buchanan, she pitched on landing and was forced to settle for third place.
Super Duty was left clear following Fentara’s blunder but was reeled in by a surging Goulanes (12-5 fav), piloted by Tom Scudamore, who powered home for trainer David Pipe and won by a head.
Walford, however, and the Chasing Gold Racing Club syndicate members who cheered Fentara (10-1) home, were not discouraged in the least by so narrowly missing out on a big Pattern race victory on Saturday.
“She’s a good one,” the trainer said. “She’s tough. He (Peter) said he hit the front a bit too soon. He said she ran out of petrol completely, but she has run a hell of a race.
“It would be ground dependent whether she goes to Cheltenham. Really the aim is the mares final at Newbury but we have options. She will be in the Kim Muir Chase (at the Festival) as well.”
Lease Lend, trained at Great Habton by Tim Easterby, also had to settle for third as Cloudy Too (9-2) fought off the attentions of Dunowen Point to scoop the £18,500 Play totescoop6 At totepool.com Chase.
But there was better luck for Malton’s Richard Fahey. The Musley Bank-based trainer saddled a rare National Hunt winner when Dakar Run (3-1) was a four-and-a-half length victor of the wetherbyracing.co.uk National Hunt Flat race.
Herdsman (4-1 jt-fav) won a remarkable totepool Mobile Hurdle.
The three-mile and one furlong contest split into two separate races from the start, with Kayf Aramis dragging along the eventual winner and 2010 Cheltenham Festival winner Pause And Clause – leaving the other four runners some 20 lengths behind at one stage. Kayf Aramis’ challenge ended when he almost fell when striking the second last. Herdsman was left well clear.
Tweedledrum bridged the gap and actually led on the run-in before jockey Ryan Mania managed to push his mount back in front to win by a neck, with Kayf Aramis hanging on for third.
Billy Twyford reeled in Shammick Boy to win the opening Star Sports Cheltenham Preview Evening – 4th March Hurdle by a short head.
Trainer Lawney Hill’s six-year-old, ridden by David Bass, came surging through on the run-in to snatch a thrilling victory.
The Wilmot-Smith Memorial Cup was won by the going away Palypso De Creek (2-1 fav).
Victor Dartnall had something to cheer about after Seebright (6-1) prevailed in the Play toteplacepot at totepool.com Novices’ Hurdle.
The six-year-old, with Andrew Glassonbury in the saddle, saw off the favourite Big Society following a fight down the home straight.