Jeremy Scott sent out Decimus to win at Ludlow
A dislike for fences has helped Decimus return to winning ways over the smaller obstacles as he took his hurdling tally to four at Ludlow.
After Decimus had wound up the last campaign with two wins, trainer Jeremy Scott decided to send him novice chasing this term.
However, after three dismal efforts he was switched back to hurdles and has now obliged in two of his last three races.
The combination of forcing tactics and better ground saw Decimus (14/1) hold last week’s Cheltenham scorer and 6/4 favourite Kingsmere in the Racing UK-sponsored handicap hurdle over three miles.
Both Kingsmere and One Conemara held every chance at the final flight, but the seven-year-old would not be denied as 5lb claimer Matt Griffiths guided him home by a length and a quarter and the same.
“He just seems to relish this better ground. That seems to have made the difference to him,” said Scott.
“He seemed to hate jumping fences so our chasing campaign didn’t go terribly well which did allow his hurdle mark to drop a little bit. He’s been able to make use of it.
“I imagine we’ll keep going during the summer. There’s no point racing him in the winter. He doesn’t like soft ground so we might as well kick on and see how we get on.”
There was a two-day ban (May 6-7) for Kingsmere’s rider Jake Greenall for overuse of the whip.
Another Flutter (12/1) rewarded his backers with a battling all-the-way success in the Easter Tuesday Handicap Chase.
Refreshed after a 172-day absence, the Matt Sheppard-trained 10-year-old was challenged hard by Elsafeer at the business end of proceedings, but kept pulling out more for Charlie Poste and got home by a hard-fought neck.
Sheppard said: “He has just come back from a winter break. He wouldn’t have wanted that soft ground we had then. He’s very fresh and has gone and made all. He’s a slow two-miler. He can go the same speed all the way. I’m absolutely delighted. He’ll keep on going all summer.”
Divine Intavention (9/2) landed the feature the HR Smith Group Ltd Handicap Chase thanks to the erratic late jumping of Talkonthestreet.
Jumping out to the left in the straight saw Talkonthestreet’s lead whittle away and Divine Intavention made up the leeway from the third-last fence as his 5lb claiming amateur Mark Wall seized the initiative.
A straight-as-a-die leap at the final fence saw Martin Keighley’s horse grab the advantage and go on to score by two and a quarter lengths.
Call the Cops (4/11 favourite) made hard work of landing the odds for trainer Nicky Henderson and Irish Grand National-winning jockey Barry Geraghty in the Family Day On 11th May Novices’ Hurdle.
Magic Money led two out where she made a bad mistake, which let in Call The Cops and Always Archie. It was only close home that the former took command to win by a length and a half.
The Philip Hobbs-trained August Hill (13/8 favourite) followed up her win at Wincanton nine days earlier with a five-length success in the Ludlow Festival Novices’ Handicap Hurdle under 3lb claimer Micheal Nolan.
Steve Flook’s Foundry Square (11/4) ran out a ready 11-length winner for amateur Gina Andrews in the Eddie Mapp Memorial Open Hunters’ Chase, while the Kim Bailey-trained Gaelic Myth (8/1) made a successful debut in the Ladies Day On 11th May Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race.