The Young Master back to winning ways
The Young Master has raced back to form this season, winning at Chepstow recently and then landing today’s Markel Insurance Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase.
The Sam Waley-Cohen-ridden winner beat Station Master and Walk In The Mill by eight lengths and 14 lengths. The rider carried the colours of his father, Cheltenham chairman Robert Waley-Cohen, although the gelding runs in the name of partners Mike Burbidge and The Old Masters, aka Waley-Cohen senior and brothers Steve and Martin Broughton.
The winner made much of the running and showed plenty of zest when challenged. His trainer, Neil Mulholland, said: “The form of the Chepstow race has worked out well, and he’s still only nine, which people forget because he seems to have been around a long time. He’s very genuine, gutsy and in tremendous form.
“Maybe my horses were a bit under the weather last year, and it’s hard to be on form every year from two to nine – he’s been very competitive in the past and he has course form around Cheltenham. Thankfully Sam’s given him a great ride again and it’s worked out.
“The nicer ground the better. We’ll leave him in the Ladbrokes Trophy (December 1st) at Newbury and I’ll talk to the owners about that, but we’re not under any pressure. The plan was always to try and win a couple of races early, then give him a break and bring him back in the spring for races like the Scottish National and Bet365 Gold Cup. We have options, and Aintree would be on the agenda.”
Red Hot Chilly scorches rivals
The Fergal O’Brien-trained Red Hot Chilly caused an upset in the Swanee River Supports Countryside Alliance Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
Ridden by Paddy Brennan, the five-year-old son of Frozen Power took the lead with a powerful run approaching the home straight towards the outside of the field and he held on well in the closing stages to score by a length and a quarter from My Brother, trained by Neil Mulholland, in second.
Brennan said: “I always thought Red Hot Chilly would be better suited by a fast-run race.
“It did not quite go to plan as I was there sooner than I wanted to be, but I knew he was race-fit and he has seen it out well.
“Myself, Alain Cawley and Harry Skelton sit together. We all walked the track and were of the same opinion [about going wide]. I knew they were in my wing mirror but most of all I knew Noel Fehily [rider of My Brother] was challenging me in behind and he was a danger.
“Red Hot Chilly was an outsider and it was easy to ride him like that.”
Bun Doran scores at Cheltenham
Classy chaser Bun Doran, who reached a BHA rating of 142 after winning at Newcastle two years ago, finally got back into the winner’s enclosure today.
A strapping chaser and still only seven, he did a piece of work recently with his talented stablemate God’s Own, and that gave Tom George and jockey Paddy Brennan some confidence ahead of today’s run in the BetVictor Handicap Chase. Cruising into the lead before the home turn, Bun Doran stayed on to land the spoils by eight lengths from runner-up Movie Legend.
Slad-based George said: “Paddy saw Bun Doran work with God’s Own a couple of weeks ago. He was riding God’s Own and this guy came past him, so he knew what was in store. Paddy was fairly confident today.
“Bun Doran was knocking on the door in some big races last season. He has strengthened up a bit over the summer and his work has been outstanding this time round. We thought there was big day in him and it has come.
“He is a brilliant jumper, but it has taken us quite a long time to work him out and to find out what sort of trip he wanted. I think we have him sorted now and two miles and really letting him use his stride and his jumping is probably the trick.
“He’s an enormous horse, and a quick horse, too. He needs to improve again to go up from a handicap, but we’re working him out and he’s still young.
“God’s Own is well too, and I’m just hoping the rain stays away a bit longer. I’m thinking of the Peterborough Chase [at Huntingdon] as a possible target.”
Meribel makes his class Count
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies’ single previous success in the Steel Plate and Sections Novices’ Chase came with future Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander in 2007. It would be remarkable if his 2018 victor, Count Meribel, reached those heights, but the novice chaser certainly impressed the local trainer with his narrow victory over front-runner Le Breuil by a neck following a mistake at the second-last..
Twiston-Davies said: “That was great, especially when we thought it was snatched away from us at the second-last. It was a good recovery and well done to the jockey [Mark Grant].
“I hope that he can go to the top. He will definitely stay three miles and is a lovely horse. With a clearer round, he might have won quite easily.
“He is very much Jim Old’s responsibility as Count Meribel came to us when Jim gave up training. We will discuss it with Jim and the owner but I think we will look at the top novice chases.
“He is a very, very nice horse and I love him.”
Old, who bought the now-six-year-old as a yearling at Tattersalls in February 2013 for 3,500 guineas, said: “He’s much better on this sort of ground. He’s a serious lepper and Mark was top-class to stay in the saddle after he made one mistake at the second-last. But I knew he would pick up and go again, and he did.
“If he comes here for The Festival, it would probably be the RSA Chase or the JLT, not the Arkle, and we will choose our route there very carefully.”
Josies’s Orders back at home at Cheltenham
Josies Orders (10st 11lb) returned to the scene of some of his greatest triumphs, winning the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase for a second time – the Enda Bolger-trained 10-year-old also won this race in 2015.
Three years ago the jockey was Nina Carberry, but since her retirement at the end of last season Mark Walsh has come in for the ride. The pair beat The Fact Of The Matter (10st), trained by Jamie Snowden, by three-quarters of a length.
Bolger, winning this race for the eighth time, said: “That was great. He really knows it around here – he cuts the corners well – and we decided to jump him out handy and take the short cuts. I thought for one minute coming to the last we were cooked, but he’s a great stayer and pulls out well, and I think the nice ground helped him as well.
“I just have to thank [owner] J P McManus for giving me these good horses. These races are getting very competitive now and so there are better horses in them. We have a good bunch of horses and have a good system at home that keeps them fresh and keeps them keen – the same with humans.
“We’ll look to come back here in December and for The Festival. At The Festival we will be at level weights, but he’s a good, tough, genuine horse. Mark really switches on to this horse and he’ll ride him.”
Classy Coolanly gives O’Brien a double
Fergal O’Brien recorded a double on day one of the November Meeting at Cheltenham following Coolanly’s smart success in the concluding Grade Two Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
Ridden by Paddy Brennan, registering a treble at Prestbury Park, Coolanly travelled smoothly throughout the two mile and five-furlong event and found plenty for pressure in the closing stages to score by three and a quarter-lengths from Pym in second.
Winning trainer O’Brien said: “I think Coolanly is probably a horse for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at The
“He was a bit sore after he came back from the Persian War, so I have to give credit to everyone at home for getting him back here today.
“We will enjoy today and we might go for the Challow Hurdle because he won’t have a penalty.”