Ben Clarke’s winning streak continues with Endless Escape.
Endless Escape’s hat trick at Ffos Las, where jump racing resumed on Monday following the big freeze, has elevated her to a higher class for the upcoming month.
Since joining Ben Clarke, the 5-2 shot has won both starts, but in the Download The Vickers, she had to give up 5 pounds to the 8-15 favorite Vicki Vale. In the Bet App Novices’ Hurdle, the market principles prevailed in the final stretch, with the winner winning by two lengths.
She will now be stepped up in trip for a Sandown Grade Two on February 16, and her trainer believes that at two and a half miles, she will improve significantly.
“We were delighted with her,” said Clarke. “We were hoping she would run nicely today to earn herself a crack at the Sandown Grade Two (Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle) next month.
“The Skelton horse (Vicki Vale) in the race was clearly a smart horse judged on her Hereford run and we’re absolutely delighted, especially giving the runner-up 5lb as well.
“She will only ever do as much as she has to, she’s quite workmanlike. There is certainly more to come and she will be better for a step up in trip as well.”
He went on: “She has proven herself on three very different tracks the last three times and in different ground as well.
“She’s a proper staying two-miler in stiff conditions, but really she wants two and a half and I think that’ll bring out more improvement which will obviously be needed stepping up in Grade. She’s a smart mare going in the right direction.”
Hercules Morse (100-30) won division one of the Best Odds Guaranteed At Vickers at the third attempt, opening his account. Bet Everyday Maiden Hurdle with Ben Pauling hints at Sandown’s EBF Final as a possibility for his five-year-old horse.
“He’s a lovely, great big individual who will want plenty of time,” said the winning trainer.
“I’m not saying he doesn’t have ability because he clearly has. He lugged slightly right there today and won despite that, but he’s a lovely horse for next year and beyond really.
“He’s a classy horse, he moves well and he’s got everything is in the right place, but he’s doing well to be doing what he’s doing at the moment considering his size.
“We might look at something like the EBF Final with him, but he’s not going to be thrown in at the real deep end anytime soon.”
While Dan Skelton’s Real Stone (8-1) won the Vickers, Nick Schofield scored his first victory since returning from injury when he rode with Regal Blue (4-1) of Jonjo O’Neill to victory in the second division. Bet Handicap Chase at an Independent Family-Owned Bookmaker.
Equinus, owned by Nigel Twiston-Davies, won the day’s most valuable race, the Vickers, with a score of 5-2. Equinus used his smart novice form to win. Bet Handicap Hurdle when increasing his handicap bow’s trip.
“I was very pleased with him and he’s improved with every run. He’s done it really nicely and it’s great to be back racing again,” said Twiston-Davies.
“We may try to get EBF qualified and go for the Final at Sandown, that seems the sensible thing to do if we have enough time.”
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