GOING: Following a dry night the going remains, good, good to soft in places. Clerk of the course Simon Claisse reported, “The chase ground is all fresh today. We’ve kept a few yards on the inside for them for today which we haven’t been on for 12 months.”
JCB Triumph Hurdle Grade 1 Cl1 2m1f
Tiger Roll jumped well and travelled like a dream through the race. On the long run to the final flight, it was clear he had the race won bar a fall. Jumping that flight and landing running, he surged clear to the line. His RPR was 4lb below that of the second horse home in 2013 and 3lb below the 2012 winner. Kentucky Hyden continued his consistent form since arriving in the UK. Slightly hampered at the second flight, he made one or two mistakes but remained in touch. Running to the final flight, he shared the lead with Guitar Pete; however, the winner had them firmly in his sights. Jumping the last fluently, he kept on for an honourable second place.It should be noted this effort pays a huge compliment to the sidelined Le Rocher who beat him ten-lengths on Trials Day at the end of January. Guitar Pete continued his excellent form over hurdles. Always prominent he led at the second last but was unable to find any extra pace. Calipto was slightly hampered at the second flight. Jumping well, he made progress down the hill towards the second last flight. Unfortunately, his stirrup iron broke and Mr Jacobs was left to ride without his irons. Despite trying to close on the leaders, a mistake at the final flight sealed his fate. He was travelling as well as the winner at the time of the incident. Rutherglen stayed on well into a never nearer fifth. He will stay further than this and should do well when reverting to the flat. Royal Irish Hussar raced on the outside and failed to settle. He was beaten after two out and looks the sort that needs smaller fields. Broughton failed to make any impression having been hampered at the third last. He may be the type to bounce back at Aintree.Plinth ran like a drain.
Vincent O´Brien County Handicap Hurdle Grade 3 Cl1 2m1f
Lac Fontana had previously shown his best form in smaller fields. Close to the leaders, he lost his position three from home. Rallying well under pressure, he came with a late, telling, run to snatch the race close to the line. He ran as though he will further if required. Arctic Fire was held up at the back of the field. Making steady headway from two out, he quickened into the lead with a furlong to run. Keeping on, he was denied by the winner close home. Montbazon showed a welcome return to form in third place equalling his 2012 Supreme Hurdle RPR. In the lead approaching the final flight he lacked the pace of the first two home up the run-in. Under top-weight Diakali recorded a career best RPR in fourth place. One imagines he will be hunting Euros in Ireland and France in the coming weeks. Flaxen Flareran up to his best in fifth place suggesting the form will hold-up. Minella Foru ran well for an inexperienced horse to finish sixth. Deep Trouble made good late headway to finish in seventh place. The handicapper appears to have him about right. However, his record in Class Three/Four races reads 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2. Alaivan ran another sound race to finish ninth. He remains well-handicapped with a drop in grade the suggested route. His record on right-handed tracks reads 1, 1, 1, 5, UP, 2. Lyvius ran a fair race if lacking the pace to trouble the leaders as the race developed. He is another that needs a slight drop in grade. Cash And Go displayed enough to suggest he retains the ability to win a handicap at some stage. Anay Turge never showed. Cheltenian was still in contention when pulled-up between the last two flights. One assumes something went amiss, though his trainer reports nothing has come to light. Never Enough Timeweakened out of contention at the second last. He looks to need soft ground.
Albert Bartlett Novices´ Hurdle (Registered As The Spa Novices´ Hurdle) Grade 1 Cl1 3m
Very Wood upped his game by around 14/15lb to take this event. Given a typically quiet “Carberry” ride he made headway down to join in the fun approaching the last flight. Jumping that in good style, he powered up the hill looking an out and out stayer. Possessing the scope to jump a fence, he should be a useful addition to the novice ranks next season. Deputy Dan travelled near the pace until taking over from Kings Palace after the second last. Kicked for home, he was joined at the last, which he jumped slowly. Unable to raise another effort he stuck on well for second. A fine run a ground that would have been faster than he cares for. Apache Jack made headway down the hill. Having jumped the second last, he chased the runner-up until the winner joined both horses at the final flight. Apache Jack kept on well without ever looking better than third best. Champagne West ran creditably to finish fourth equalling his best RPR rating. Kings Palace led or disputed the lead until the second last hurdle. He was well-beaten when falling at the last hurdle. His trainer suggested the ground was too quick. Briar Hill raced in behind the leaders until falling at the seventh flight. He sustained a broken bone under his eye and misses the remainder of the season. Urban Hymn made a lot of the running before fading. He is every inch a chaser for next season. Captain Cutter lost his action on the run to the last and was pulled-up.
Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase Grade 1 Cl1 3m2f110y
Lord Windermere’swinning RPR is 11lb below Bobs Worth in 2013 and 3lb below Synchronised’s 2012 win. Timeform have the winner 6lb below Bobs Worth’s 2012 win. Racing at the rear of the field, Lord Windermere began to make headway from the third last. At the second last, he was still in seventh place. Hard driven approaching the last fence, he ran on strongly to lead halfway up the run-in. Despite hanging to his right (under a correct right-hand drive), he held on grimly to the line.On His Own led or disputed the lead through the race. Joined at the third last, he was outpaced as the pack ran towards the second last. Having jumped the second last fence, he veered to his right hampering The Giant Bolster and Triolo D’Alene. Regaining his momentum, he jumped the last in fifth place. Carried to his right he rallied all the way to the line. The Giant Bolster was off and on the bit throughout the race. Making headway after the third last, he was bumped at the second last. Back on an even keel, he ran on gamely without ever looking as though he would win. This was his third good run in the race. Silviniaco Conti began to assert approaching the third last, turning for home looking the likely winner. Jumping the second last, he was still in front though under strong driving. Having jumped the last a length clear he wandered to his right appearing to run out of stamina in the closing half-furlong. A fine run, though his RPR was 10lb below his King George win. Bobs Worth was far from fluent through the race. Making progress after the fourth last, he was in a position to make his final assault after the third last fence. Pushed along he jumped the second last a length behind the leader. Challenging Silviniaco Conti on the run-in he wandered to his left and right finishing like a tired horse. Looking at his RPR’s since last year’s Gold Cup, one has to suggest that race has left an indelible mark. Lyreen Legend ran a blinder until hitting the second last. He appeared not to stay, but would be of interest back at three-miles. Teaforthree and Triolo D’Alene ran well up to a point, though both weakened disappointingly from the second last fence. Last Instalment was beaten when unseating his rider five from home. His tendon was damaged leading to an honourable retirement.
CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup Cl2 3m2f110y
Tammys Hill appreciated the drying ground. Making headway from midfield, he move into contention at the second last and quickly asserted having jumped the final fence. Carsontown Boy outran his odds to finish second. Despite his year he appears to be improving. On The Fringe made headway three out and looked the likely winner jumping the second last. He was unable to quicken from that point. He was found out by the drying ground. Pearlysteps was an honourable fourth, whilst inexperience almost certainly found Harbour Court out as the race developed. He stayed on late in the day was reported to have finished distressed.
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys´ Handicap Hurdle Cl2 2m4f110y
Don Poli came through the field to join Thomas Crapper at the second last. Set alight by his above average pilot after the final flight, he scooted clear up the run-in. A fine big horse, he is all about chasing next season. Interestingly, Sir Des Champs, who won this race in 2011, recorded a 10lb lower RPR than Don Poli. Thomas Crapper, as with several horses that ran well during the week, showed good form in course and distance handicaps last October/November. He stayed on well without troubling the winner enjoying the good ground underhoof.Caid Du Berlais ran well to finish third without ever looking likely to win. Fences and hurdles come alike to this fellow, as do left and right-handed tracks. As a five-year-old, he looks sure to improve and win more races. Urbain De Sivola lost his race at the start. Making rapid progress down the hill, he had every chance until the effort of making up lost ground saw his challenge flatten out. He has run three good races this season and deserves a change of fortune. The first four home, were well clear of the fifth horse. Une Artiste ran a fair race only tiring as on the run to the final flight. Local Hero ran well. He is far more effective on conventional tracks. Full Shift never really got involved. He is a nice prospect that should do well over fences. Vieux Lion Rouge found this all too much after three wins in novice company.
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup Handicap Grade 3 Cl1 2m110y
Savello rounded the meeting off with a convincing win despite being far from fluent on the way round. The fourth win on the day for Gigginstown Stud. Ned Buntline had his chance and ran well. Despite wearing a hood, I am not sure he was putting it all in when asked for his final effort. Claret Cloak made stealthy headway into the race taking second on the run to the penultimate fence. Unfortunately, he made a bad mistake and did well to rally for third place. Next Sensation made a brave effort to make all the running. He stayed at the head of affaires until after the last fence keeping on at the same pace close home. Relatively fresh, he would be hard to peg back at Aintree. French Opera and Eastlake were not disgraced in fifth and sixth. The latter already has a win at Aintree on his c.v.