Maguire double sets the tone for Berkeley fixture
by Peter McNeile
Former leading jockey Jason Maguire has never looked back since injury forced him to quit the saddle in 2016 and he posted a landmark training career double at Woodford on Saturday following victories for One For Rosie and Barney Dwan.
Running a successful pre-training yard at Birdlip near Cheltenham takes up the vast majority of Maguire's time along with acting as racing adviser to successful owners Paul and Claire Rooney, who now have a string of flat horses. But hard-working Maguire still finds enough hours in the day to maintain his lifelong interest in the jumping game - albeit between the flags rather than under Rules these days.
One For Rosie once carried the Rooney silks but now races in the colours of Maguire's wife Lauren and the 10-year-old was always jumping and travelling with aplomb for regular partner Tom Broughton. And, apart from a wobble at the last fence when getting a bit lonely in front, it proved plain sailing in the Conditions (Level 2) race with punters who stepped in to take the odds about the 2-5 favourite never really having a worrying moment.
Maguire said: "He is a little star isn't he? As long as he comes out of this race in good order we will look for something else for him in a couple of weeks and go again as long as the ground does not get too quick. If it did dry up and become too fast then there is every chance he could go to Stratford's hunter chase meeting in a month or so, that's what is at the back of my mind before he has a nice summer out at grass."
Broughton was also on board the veteran 13-year-old Barney Dwan but his victory was not as straight-forward as the combination had to dig deep to fend off the attentions of favourite Montanna up the home run of the Members race. The success brought a smile to the face of Maguire and he commented: "The old horse is closer to retirement than anything else and we will play it by ear with him. If the ground was safe at Cheltenham early next month he could go there."
The Jockey Club Novice Champion Mares And Fillies Final attracted only four takers and it went the way of Grenadine Save, who was given a tactically astute ride by Amber Jackson-Fennell to beat Harbour Queen. Jackson-Fennell said: "We always like supporting mare's races as we have three at home. We entered this one along with Queen Kalamba and we were always going to run one of them as it was a nice prize."
Yippee Ki Yay has done nothing but improve since being transferred to the care of Nicky Sheppard and the five-year-old did what was required to make it three wins from four races when landing the Intermediate under Milo Herbert. A delighted Sheppard said: "If it keeps on raining he might keep going. He blotted his copybook when ducking out at Bitterley at the start of the month but has done little wrong before or after that episode."
Tom Ellis and his jockey wife Gina Andrews have once again carried all before them this season and their lengthy hot streak continued in the Ladies Conditions contest after Tigerbythetail comfortably took the honours. The seven-year-old was rattling of victory number five this term and Ellis reported: " I suppose he might have to step up to Open company next as long as the ground remains safe as he will not be running when conditions become rattling."
Despite not having been seen jumping fences for the best part of 12 months, some knowledgeable punters latched on to the chances of Chu Chu Percy in the Conditions (Level 3) race and the 9-4 favourite did not let them down when beating The Dartmoor Rose. Winning rider Fern O'Brien reported: "He travelled brilliantly and jumped nicely in the main. I was always confident he would win even though he had not run for such a long time.
The Matthew Hampson-trained Fusionice proved the answer to the concluding Maiden when overcoming a marked tendency to jump left at his fences before getting the better of Chief Black Robe.