Stepper Smooth In Trial
Testing conditions on course and the little addition of Storm Dennis couldn’t stop the show as Smooth Stepper used his experience under Harry Bannister as he overhauled in form course specialist Lord Du Mesnil in a real slog up the Haydock straight to land the feature Grade 3 Grand National Trial
With silks getting increasingly mud splattered just like many local rugby league games have been around these parts it all looked over bar the shouting as Lord Du Mesnil came to the last but the 11yo Smooth Stepper who slowly picked his rivals off up the straight and went past the 7yo on the run in whose petrol gauge slowly went into the red zone to land the big race of the day.
Alex Hales has been having a really good season and while Smooth Stepper wont be at Aintree he should pop up at Uttoxeter next month for the Midlands version, one who most certainly will is Yala Enki who ran a solid enough race back in third but got a tired like many horses did this afternoon.
Emiton Bounces Back
After a poor reappearance at Cheltenham back on New Years Day, Emitom regained the winning thread when hacking up in the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle, held together nicely by Gavin Sheehan he stayed on in good style to hold Donna’s Diamond easily in the end, he could head off to the Festival to take on Paisley Park in the Stayers or wait for the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in the spring.
One horse who put in a poor show was favourite The World’s End who was pulled up, he made a couple of errrors but this was not his showing.
Double For Nicholls
Paul Nicholls seldom leaves Haydock empty handed and he looks to have a couple of nice types for Cheltenham and Aintree as the stable lorry made the journey back to Ditcheat with two nice winners on the afternoon.
First of all Sir Psycho proved to be ready for a crack at either the Triumph or the Fred Winter with a very impressive display in the Victor Ludorum Hurdle, travelling nicely under Bryony Frost he was very slick at his hurdles and is coming along nicely as a jumper.
The second winner for the yard came in the finale which was run in near darkness, the Walrus Hunter Chase in a race that only had four runners but Alcala was much the best here as the 10yo began his new career in style under jockey Mr Angus Cheleda who himself was riding his first winner for the master of Ditcheat, currently not qualified for Cheltenham he would be better off waiting for Aintree over the same trip as this.
Ramses Has His Chips
Not many horses use a 3m Novice Hurdle and a Grade 2 one at that to get ready for a crack at the Grand National but Ramses De Teillee looks likely to head down the East Lancs in April to line up as he bolted up in attrional conditions to take the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Prestige Novice, already a winner of two races over three miles this seson including the River Don before this he should have as good a chance as any.
Back in second was Kalooki from the Philip Hobbs yard, he was simply beaten by a much more experienced horse but is one to keep in the trackers and has a nice future ahead of him
Henderson At The Double
Nicky Henderson had a double on the day too, first up Caribean Boy took the opening novice handicap chase over 2m4f in conditions that were far from Carribean but he jumped nicely and has a fair future ahear of him over fences on what was his second run over fences since moving here from France.
In the second part of the double saw Welsh Saint set up a possible tilt at the Pertemps Final as he landed one of the final qualifying races here pretty nicely, although he would want a very soft surface come the final he is developing into a nice type