Rumbavu provided owner-trainer Robert Waley-Cohen and his amateur rider son, Sam, with a thrilling victory in the Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup at the first meeting at the new Cocklebarrow Racecourse.
Waley-Cohen, who lives at Edgehill, near Banbury, was among Sunday’s big crowd who peered through the mist at the venue, situated off the A40 between Burford and Northleach, to see Sam galvanise the eight-year-old home by a neck from King Fontaine in one of the sport’s four ‘classics’.
The pair had captured the same men’s open prize with Irilut six years ago, and Waley-Cohen snr said after the 11-4 favourite’s success: “I’m thrilled – what an absolutely fabulous race.
“I am delighted with the little horse. That is his 12th win for us and fifth (point) in a row.
“They are great to go for, these classics. They still mean something.
“The horse, who was second, ran in the Grand National, was rated 140 and did all sorts of good things.”
Tom Lacey, who trains at Pudlicote, near Chipping Norton, saddled Chiquilline to outclass his rivals in the members’ race, coming home ten lengths clear of Squinch under Sam Drinkwater.
National Hunt champion jockey Tony McCoy and champion trainer Nicky Henderson were among the crowd at the purpose-built left-handed track – which was well received – with McCoy bringing with him three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Henrietta Knight, whose husband Terry Biddlecombe died a week earlier.
Oh Toodles (right) is about to collar Annieegan to win the restricted, the first race run at Cocklebarrow Racecourse Picture: graftonwood.co.uk
A heavily-pregnant Zara Phillips was present to watch her runner, Devils Boys, in the first race, and it looked as if the course would open with a royal winner as the six-year-old led at the fourth-last only to fall heavily.
That left the way clear for Oh Toodles, trained near Shifnal in Shropshire by Caroline Robinson and ridden by her daughter, Immy, to have the honour of being the first winner after collaring Annieegan on the run-in to score by a length and a half.
There was also a fairy-tale success for clerk of the course Nick Phillips, who took the first division of the open maiden for four to seven-year-olds on Cousin Pete, owned by his mother, Scilla Phillips, and a first runner for trainer Elizabeth Brown, who used to work for Chipping Norton National Hunt handler Charlie Longsdon.
Moscow Blaze ran out an impressive winner of the the ladies’ open, romping home by 20 lengths for owner-trainer-rider Page Fuller, who is a pupil at Marlborough College.
Restricted: 1 OH TOODLES (I Robinson) 9-2, 2 Annieegan 12-1, 3 Carrickgerry 7-2 fav. Trainer: C Robinson. Dist: 1½l, 2l. 12 ran.
Members: 1 CHIQUILLINE (S Drinkwater) 10-11 fav, 2 Squinch 12-1, 3 Tempered Steel 7-4. Trainer: T Lacey. Dist: 10l, 6l. 7 ran.
PPORA Club Members for Novice Riders: 1 BENCH WARRENT (T Chatfield-Roberts) 5-4 fav, 2 The Ferbane Man 7-1, 3 Roi De Garde 7-1. Trainer: A Bealby. Dist: 1½l, 2l. 10 ran.
Ladies’ open: 1 MOSCOW BLAZE (P Fuller) 6-4, 2 Mrs Peacock 12-1, 3 Little Miss Monty 33-1. Trainer: P Fuller. Dist: 20l, 8l. 7 ran.
Men’s open (Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup): 1 RUMBAVU (S Waley-Cohen) 11-4 fav, 2 King Fontaine 3-1, 3 Minella Stars 9-2. Trainer: R Waley-Cohen. Dist: Nk, 8l. 14 ran.
Open maiden 6yo plus (Div 1): 1 IRISH ANTHEM (P Gerety) 5-2 fav, 2 Bach Me 10-1, 3 Harry’s Choice 7-1. Trainer: S Crow. Dist: 4l, 10l. 11 ran.
Open maiden 6yo plus (Div 2): 1 UPTON VENTURE (R Jarrett) 6-1, 2 He’s A Black Sheep 5-4 fav, 3 Hudson Gunner 5-1. Trainer: J Mahot. Dist: 1l, 3l. 12 ran.
Open maiden 4-7yo (Div 1): 1 COUSIN PETE (N Phillips) 10-1, 2 Pyro 5-2, 3 Fitz Volonte 5-1. Trainer: E Brown. Dist: 2l, 8l. 10 ran.
Open maiden 4-7yo (Div 2): 1 STAR OF MASSINI (T Weston) 5-2 fav, 2 Kilcrea Mill 6-1, 3 Shell Ford 3-1. Trainer: T Weston. Dist: 6l, 2l. 11 ran.