Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 19th 2015 Contents A47
Saturday, December 19, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Cape causes Ascot shock
Western Cape stayed on in game fashion to
spring a surprise in the Follow At Ascot On
Twitter "National Hunt" Maiden Hurdle at the
The four-year-old built on a fair debut effort
over hurdles at Lingfield last month with victory
in the extended two-mile-five-furlong prize to add
to his bumper win at Southwell.
In a race where several leading contenders
proved bitterly disappointing, including favourite
Fly Du Charmil, who was beaten a long way from
home, the 33/1 shot moved well throughout
before forging into a clear advantage on the run
to the final flight.
Meeting the last on a good stride the Seamus
Mullins-trained gelding kept on up the run-in to
post a three-and-three-quarter-length success.
Hollywoodien left his debut effort well behind
when running out the winner of the Happy
Retirement Champion Court Novices' Limited
Despite making the odd blunder the four-year-
old demonstrated good battling qualities to score
on his second outing for trainer Tom Symonds.
Ballyboley and Ink Master ensured the race
would be run at a true test before weakening out
of it late on to leave All Together and
Hollywoodien to fight matters out.
Taking the last virtually together it was to be
the 20/1 chance that was to oblige when getting
up by two and a quarter lengths.
Masterplan made just about all the running
under Graham Watters to win the Mitie
Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.
Charlie Longsdon's five-year-old was gameness
personified as he saw off numerous challengers
in the straight.
Duke Des Champs looked to be travelling much
better in the final quarter of a mile, while Irish
raider Woodford Island was closing when he
made a jolting mistake at the last.
The race was still not over inside the final 100
yards but Masterplan (16/1) held on by a short
Yanworth takes Supreme Trial in style
Alan King's Yanworth enhanced his reputation
when maintaining his unbeaten record over
obstacles in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices'
Hurdle at Ascot, yesterday.
Fourth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham
in March, he has taken to hurdling very smoothly
and handled the step up to Grade Two class with
Making all under Barry Geraghty, he was never
off the bridle and jumped fluently throughout,
beating the useful Charbel by two and three-
The race, better known as the Kennel Gate, has
been won by the likes of Medermit and Irving in
King said: "We didn't learn a lot, but he's
learning again. Barry said he put down at the
third hurdle, but his jumping was exemplary after
"It was not ideal for him to have to make the
running, but there was no other option really.
"I don't see any reason to go any further. He'll
have a break and we'll look for something in
February, but off the top of my head I can't think
of anything at the moment.
"Everything he's bumping into seems to come
out and win."
Le Mercurey looked a fortunate winner of the
Mitie Novices' Chase at Ascot for Paul Nicholls.
The five-year-old looked booked for second as
Amore Alato had led the field a merry dance
under Harry Skelton and approached the last with
a couple of lengths in hand.
However, as Skelton asked Johnny Farrelly's for
a big leap to seal the race, he put in a short stride,
sprawling on landing and sending Skelton over
Sam Twiston-Davies kept Le Mercurey (2/1) up
to his work to beat Thomas Brown, who ran in
snatches, by six lengths.
Saphir Du Rheu is totally different
gravy to seven rivals in the grade one
Long Walk Hurdle over three miles of soft
Ascot today but I ve two concerns; firstly
has a spell of chasing compromised his
speed and technique, secondly, is Paul
Nicholls stable jockey, Sam Twiston
Davies, up to the demands of these major
Many years ago Nicholls and the same
owner, Andy Stewart, successfully switched
Big Bucks back to hurdling after he fell at
the last, when prominent, in the Hennessy
Big Bucks proved to be, arguably, the
best long distance hurdler of all time.
Ruby Walsh was stable jockey at Ditcheat!
Eventually Ruby moved back to Ireland
as jockey for Willie Mullins and Daryl Jacobs
was given the job, but Nicholls soon sacked
Twiston-Davies was snapped up toward
the end of last season and good results were
A few weeks ago, in this column, my
comments about S T-D were less than
complimentary and, honestly, one started
to lay his mounts on betting exchange Bet-
fair; unfortunately I ve been proved right
and he s currently experiencing a desperately
Confidence is key for jockeys and earlier
this week it was alarming to see Twisty
go public about his shortcomings, he prom-
ised to alter his riding style; that was pub-
lished in a Racing Post article!
That s panic, nothing less, and a twitter
assurance from Nicholls hardly inspires
confidence, for punters; is the man fit for
job? I ask myself!
Anyway Saphir Du Rheu should win,
questions will be asked if he doesn t?
Tweny-one decs for the £150000 Lad-
broke Handicap Hurdle over two miles and
best-in is Some Plan, trained by Nicholls
and mount of Twiston-Davies!
Next best is Jolly s Cracked It, a seven-
year-old, trained by Harry Fry, which will
be ridden by Noel Fehily.
At the prices I ve got to stick with my
On the Lingfield all-weather polytrack
Burmese Whisper has a sporting chance
in the Claiming Stakes over six furlongs.
Thistlecrack is worthy of deep respect
when he competes in the JLT Long Walk
Hurdle at Ascot, today.
The Grade One for stayers appears to pivot
around Saphir Du Rheu, last season s World
Hurdle runner-up who returns from a short,
yet pretty lucrative, stint over fences.
Trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Andy
Stewart will be hoping the six-year-old can
replicate the great Big Buck s, who won this
race three times after fencing plans were
scrapped in 2008.
Make no mistake, Saphir Du Rheu is a
strong favourite, but it must be doubtful that
he will revert to hurdling with such con-
summate ease as the old Ditcheat hero---
especially with the ground on the soft side.
It was not as if he had an especially easy
time of things in the Hennessy, either, as he
was kept up to his work throughout the race
before fading on the run-in.
These factors could therefore clear the
road for Thistlecrack, who is the proverbial
"new kid on the block" on the staying scene
and is surely open to any amount of improve-
ment at this stage of the game.
Trainer Colin Tizzard told anyone that
cared to listen that his seven-year-old would
need the run in the Long Distance Hurdle
at Newbury last month, having been out in
a field since he finished second in a Grade
One at Punchestown in April.
Yet those that took the plunge were reward-
ed by the bucket-load as Thistlecrack threw
off the shackles once Deputy Dan had fleet-
ingly seized the initiative and won in rather
Fatigue had clearly set in after the last
hurdle, but there was something really quite
exciting with the manner by which he got
stuck in once the rest of the field had cried
off. The form looks impregnable, too, as the
third horse home, lest we not forget, was
none other than reigning World Hurdle
champ Cole Harden.
Thistlecrack, who breezily won a first Grade
One at Aintree in the spring, should find
conditions pretty similar at Ascot to that of
Newbury, which is plus.
But even if there was more rain to come,
this heavy-ground winner will not be knocked
off his stride.
Granted even nominal improvement from
the Long Distance Hurdle, Tizzard s repre-
sentative has a lovely opportunity in which
to embolden his already strong claims for
Festival honours at Cheltenham in March.
Gordon Elliott will put the
finishing touches to Don Cos-
sack s William Hill King
George VI Chase preparation
Don Cossack s trainer Gor-
don Elliot, owner Eddie
O Leary and jockey Bryan
Cooper celebrate winning The
JNwine.com Champion Chase
The eight-year-old has won
eight of his last nine races, with
his only defeat in that time
coming at Cheltenham in the
He has been imperious in
two starts this season and while
his task may look slightly easier
with Gold Cup winner Coney-
gree absent, Elliott is taking
nothing for granted.
"He s in good form and will
do his last bit of work on Tues-
day," said Elliott.
"All being well the King
George is the plan (rather than
"Coneygree might not be be
there, but with Vautour and
Cue Card it is still a very good
race and I m looking forward
Under: (Last Saturday)
10.30 am 24-9
4 pm 28-15
6.30 pm 23-12
PICK TWO SELECTIONS
Times played this year
10.30am 1pm 4pm 6.30pmTotal
01CENTIPEDE 13 6 8 3 30
02 OLD LADY
04DEADMAN 12 12 5 4 33
05PARSONMAN 7 7 7 6 27
15SICKWOMAN7 7 9 2 25
18WATERBOAT 7 11 7 1 26
10.30am 1pm 4pm 6.30pmTotal
27 LITTLESNAKE 4 6 5 0 15
28 RED FISH
29OPIUMMAN 9 8 8 1 26
30HOUSECAT 7 8 8 2 25
31 PARSONWIFE 11 10 5 3 29
34BLINDMAN 3 7 7 7 24
35BIGSNAKE 10 9 6 2 27
LAST DRAW: FRIDAY
WHEN DE MARK BUSS Play Whe results to Friday, December 18
6.30 pm 0
25 (Morocoy) 6.30 pm
34 6.30 pm
TODAY'S STAR BETS
35 (Big Snake)
26 (Fowl) 4 pm
11 (Corbeau) 10.30 am
20 (Dog) 1 pm
Stick with this 'Plan'
2.25 Saphir Du Rheu
3.35 Some Plan (e.w)
12.05 Burmese Whisper
Don Cossack tuning up for Kempton
Thistle can crack Ascot puzzle
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