Sunday 26 March 2017

O'Regan marches to an old beat as General fights back

Thomas Kelly

Denis O'Regan returned to one of his old stomping grounds to great acclaim yesterday as he lifted the Watt Fences North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick on General Hardi.

O'Regan rode plenty of winners at the Richmondshire venue as stable jockey to Howard Johnson, but since his split with the trainer and subsequent move down south to Lambourn, he is a less frequent visitor these days.

Partnering the 10-year-old for John Wade, he appeared to be in a hopeless position rounding the final bend as the favourite According To Pete reeled in long-time leader Star Beat.

However, O'Regan got a great tune out of the 16/1 shot inside the final furlong to win by half a length.

"It was great. He's a very genuine horse and stays well. Brian Hughes told me all about him so a bit of the credit must go to him," said O'Regan. "He said if he isn't travelling early doors, just let him find his own feet."

Micky Hammond won with his first runner since the big freeze at Doncaster and the Middleham man maintained his red-hot form with a 317/2 double.

His four-year-old Danceintothelight (9/2) gamely held on from Shadows Lengthen in the catterickbridge.co.uk Novices' Hurdle. The four-year-old would now be three from three but for a last-flight fall at Wetherby.

"He's taken to jumping really well; he was unlucky at Wetherby and other than one mistake at the last he jumped well at Hexham," said Hammond.

Joe Colliver will never forget the Leeds Handicap Hurdle as Sang Deng (28/1) gave him his first winner.

Kim Bailey is now without a winner at only Hexham of all the courses in the UK after Mark Twain (9/4 favourite) took the yorkshire4x4.com Adventure Activities Juvenile Maiden Hurdle under Jason Maguire.

Having been in training with Aidan O'Brien as a juvenile, the Rock Of Gibraltar gelding failed to make waves but could have a future over obstacles.

Howard Johnson's Glencree (7/2 favourite) defied a 633-day absence in the Wakefield Beginners' Chase after which James Reveley was taken to hospital following a fall from Karingreason.

Reveley's luck was totally out as he missed a winner for his father, Keith, on Heavenly Chorus (7/2) in the WL And Hector Christie Memorial Trophy.

Irish Independent

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