Westerner dominated the major events in Britain on Saturday when his three high-profile successes included a G2 at Wetherby and the feature G3 chase at Ascot.
At Wetherby, the Warren Greatrex-trained Cole Harden (5g Westerner-Nosie Betty, by Alphabatim) looked a live contender for the major staying hurdles this season when winning the G2 West Yorkshire Hurdle by eight lengths in terrific style (pictured).
“I had a feeling he’d improved a lot over the summer and I think he’ll improve from this,” Greatrex
told PA Sport. ”If it hadn’t gone well today we could have gone back to handicaps. That was impressive, though, and we’ll look at the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.”
Cole Harden, who races in the colours of Jill and Robin Eynon, was bred by Mrs J O’Callaghan.
Meanwhile, in the G3 United House Chase at Ascot, What A Warrior (7g Westerner-Be Right, Be My Native) landed a valuable prize for trainer Dan Skelton and his jockey brother Harry.
It’s next stop for the Hennessy Gold Cup for the James Barry-bred son of Westerner and the winning rider commented: “I was very confident the whole way. He lugged out to his left most of the way, but he jumped like a buck and he’s learned. Since he won at Ludlow, the trainer had a plan and he’s pulled it off. It’s massive. This is what it’s all about, these big Saturdays, big races, big winners.”
Dan Skelton added: “We’re going to go to the Hennessy next. It is a step up in grade and he has to get over a hard race, but he has got to probably go.
“He’s a very tough horse, who loves to jump. All his life he has gone left-handed but for some reason he always wins right-handed.”
Westerner was again on the mark at Wetherby when the exciting French-bred four-year-old Solar Impulse (4g Westerner-Moon Glow, by Solar One) took a novices’ limited handicap chase.