Stratford: O'Neill double begins with Gimmick strike.
day at a glance
Around Before had the three-mile handicap chase in safe keeping from a long way out and looks set for a profitable summer
Pension book beckons
Brendan Powell retired Eau de Cologne after the prolific winning 12-year-old was pulled up behind Around Before
Lislaughtin Abbey collapsed and died following his second place to Hit Royal in the 21/2-mile handicap chase
JONJO O'NEILL arrived by helicopter at the Midlands circuit and mopped up with a double courtesy of Gimmick and Around Before.
Gimmick defied an absence of more than three months from the racecourse to lift the two-mile handicap hurdle by a couple of lengths from Thelonius after hitting the front three furlongs out under Tony McCoy.
Seamus Durack was aboard Around Before because McCoy could not do the weight. He never had an anxious moment in the three-mile handicap chase, as the seven-year-old went on with a circuit to go and thrashed Three Eagles.
O'Neill said: "I usually like to spend Sundays with the kids and treat it as a day off, but they're being looked after by their grandmother back at home so I'm here."
Of Gimmick, the trainer declared: "He needs this quick ground and could go chasing next. He may have one more run over hurdles but he'll jump fences again sooner rather than later."
Around Before could now have a tilt at the Summer National at Uttoxeter in a couple of weeks' time.
O'Neill said: "We'll have a look at the race and see how the handicapper reacts after this, as he may not be in the handicap."
Christian Williams set out to make the novices' handicap hurdle a true test on Oh So Brave, and the ploy worked to perfection as the combination made all to beat Soldershire by a length.
Winning trainer Evan Williams (no relation) said: "We're not a gambling yard by any means but I must admit I had a few quid on this one to pay the feed bill, as I thought he had a big chance in a poor
Paul Webber's Hit Royal, partnered by Tom Doyle, landed an incident-packed 21/2-mile handicap chase in which the first and second favourites, Some Judge and Why The Long Face, failed to get round.
Webber said: "His owner David Zarnetzki has about 25 people with him today, so it's nice the horse has won. Usually in those circumstances things go awfully wrong, but luckily we got it right this time."
The runner-up, Lislaughtin Abbey, keeled over and died after being unsaddled. The 12-year-old had scored eight times and been placed on numerous occasions in a career that spanned 52 races.
Lord Of Illusion followed up his recent Wetherby success in facile fashion as he came well clear of Zaffre Noir in the hands of Paul Maloney to collect the novices' chase.
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Jun 14, 2004|
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