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Racing round-up: Hawkes Point boosts National claims and Douvan delights

| 12.01.2015

The staying chasers, the novice hurdlers, the veterans and the youngsters; they were all writing their own stories this weekend in the racing world.

With quality cards on at Kempton, Warwick and Punchestown in Ireland, as well as the grand opening of Chelmsford City there was bound to be plenty to talk about how the markets would react when the dust had settled.

Here are the pick of the movers and shakers from the last few days.

Hawkes makes his Point for the National

After a poor effort in the Welsh Grand National, a race in which Hawkes Point had finished second in 2013, trainer Paul Nicholls turned to first time blinkers for his 10-year-old in the Classic Chase at Warwick.

It certainly did the trick with the son of Kayf Tara powering clear under a great ride from Sam Twiston-Davies.

The bookmakers were impressed cutting him from 40/1 into 25/1 for Grand National success at Aintree in April, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him put a big run round the Liverpool track.

Supreme favourite cut again

A 4/1 antepost favourite for a race two months away might not be a price for many to get stuck into, but for a trainer that has won the last two renewals, Douvan further showcased his Cheltenham credentials at Punchestown.

Sent off the 1/3 favourite, the Willie Mullins-trained gelding eased to a facile success in the Moscow Flyer Novices’ Hurdle under Ruby Walsh.

His price for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was subsequently clipped into 3/1, but a number of sizeable bets forced Ladbrokes into shortening him further into 5/2, with support still coming for the five-year-old.

Lizzie Kelly on Tea duty at Kempton

This season has been a sensation for young rider Lizzie Kelly. In her mother’s colours, riding for her step-father Nick Williams, the 7lb claimer had already tasted Graded success this season in the Fixed Brush Hurdle, but what was to come was a whole lot more impressive.

Sent off the 9/2 joint-favourite, the pair were prominent throughout, and drew clear easily in the home straight at Kempton, destroying the Lanzarote Hurdle field by 16l.

Such was the manner of the success that a quote of 20/1 was given for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the festival, but his trainer has since confirmed that the novice route is likely to be the preferred option.

Explosive start at Chelmsford

With £25m spent revamping the course formerly known as Great Leighs, a select crowd of 801 were treated to state of the art facilities at Britain’s newest racecourse, and plenty of drama.

The opening race at Chelmsford City delivered a spectacle with Adam Kirby and Tryster holding onto the 1m2f handicap in the stewards’ room.

His mount looked well in control before jinking right inside the final furlong, causing interference to Gaelic Silver in second.

Nevertheless the Charlie Appleby-trained horse kept the race and pencilled his name into the history of the venue.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.