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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Drum strikes for hot WilliamsHeadlines
Venetia Williams

Venetia Williams has made an unusually swift start to the jumps season proper as Drumshambo became her eighth winner of the month in the Shukers Landrover Novices' Handicap Chase at Ludlow.

The Herefordshire trainer is not known to be so prolific this side of Christmas, invariably hitting a hot streak in January or February and popping up at the big festivals, and she put it down to several factors.

"When they are running well you want to find some more to enter at home," said Williams of the 5-2 shot, who stayed on three and a half lengths clear of Bennys Quest.

"The wet summer and autumn has helped, as we haven't had to worry about the ground going quick. It's also been something of a changing of the guard at home. We've got a lot to go novice chasing this season who were always going to be better over fences."

Traditionally a more frequent sighting in the winner's enclosure during November is Nicky Henderson, whose Karazhan (5-2) turned over Charlie Longsdon's 4-6 favourite Spirit Of Shankly in the Bet With The Ludlow On Course Bookmakers Maiden Hurdle.

The recent Bangor scorer was ridden by David Bass, and Henderson's assistant Ben Pauling said: "He was knocked about a bit and forced wide, but he has shown plenty of speed there. It wasn't a mugs' race with Spirit Of Shankly coming third, and the second (Zarzal) looks a nice horse, too."

Longsdon had been inspecting horses at the sales in Cheltenham and had not arrived in time to see Tidal Way continue his winning education under a penalty in the Stourport High School Juvenile Hurdle.

Sent off the 10-11 favourite after a recent success at Bangor, the grey was never far away from the pace but was kept honest by the attentions of hurdling newcomer and market rival Vasco D'Ycy, eventually proving two lengths too strong.

Jockey Noel Fehily said: "He's a tough little horse and Charlie has done well to place him to win a couple of times now. He just had a look at the last couple in the home straight, but he did it well. He has won two, and things will get tougher from now on, but hopefully Charlie can find him another one."

Evan Williams and Paul Moloney were on song as they claimed a double, Firebird Flyer (9-2) taking the Weatherbys 2013 Point-To-Point Annual Handicap Chase and Hold Court (11-4) gaining a half-length verdict in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Introductory Hurdle.

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