In-form Aspell on the double
Not many jockeys come back better after retiring but Leighton Aspell is an exception and a graded race televised double on Shotgun Paddy and Deputy Dan at Warwick yesterday kept the popular rider on course for his best season.
Aspell, 37, spent a year out in 2008-09 but his decision to return to the saddle is really paying dividends now and both trainers who use him most, Oliver Sherwood and Emma Lavelle, benefited from his experience yesterday.
Shotgun Paddy, a novice with only three starts over fences, beat a revitalised Carruthers by six lengths in Warwick's richest race of the year, the Betfred Classic over three miles and five furlongs despite hitting the last obstacle.
"My only worry was that he can be a bit quick and low at his fences," said Barry Fenton, Lavelle's husband. "It was his first time in handicap company but Leighton gave him a lovely ride. Last season was very long and hard because we could never get the horses healthy. One day in the middle of the season we had four runners and four winners and thought here we go. But we didn't.
"Shotgun Paddy has been a good horse from day one. He's not the prettiest but we loved him for the way he won a bumper in the soft at Thurles and that's why we bought him."
If Shotgun Paddy goes to Cheltenham it will be in the National Hunt Chase over four miles.