Wetherby’s two day Charlie Hall Chase meeting came to a glorious conclusion on Saturday afternoon as Welsh trainer Rebecca Curtis stole the show with Irish Cavalier as he showed that younger legs were the order of the day to just hang on from veterans Menorah and Cue Card in a thrilling finish at the ever popular A1 course to land the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase, 5th in last seasons Gold Cup he went to land a hurdle at Punchestown and looks to have found significant improvement during his summer holiday, only 7 he looks likely to head to Haydock next month for the Betfair chase before being readied for Cheltenham, Menorah defied his 11yo status to run a cracker in defeat while the star of last season Cue Card travelled well but giving 10lb to the winner was always going to prove tough to do but he will be much better next month when back on level terms.
Irish Cavalier will more than likely miss the worst of the winter heavy ground but this was a big day for Rebecca Curtis and new stable jockey Jonathan Moore who both look to have a partnership with which to kick on with now.
Elsewhere on a decent card we saw Silsol take an intriguing renewal of the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle over 3m as he finished over two and three quartet lengths ahead of Native River, always at his best fresh Silsol won a couple of novice chases last season but looks like he will be trying to emulate Big Buck’s now in the staying hurdle division, next months Long Walk at Newbury is the plan for him, Native River in second was using this as a Hennessy prep and he will come on a ton for this and will have a live chance in the big Newbury handicap, Favourite Ballyoptic was hard at work but still had a squeak when he fell at the last flight but thankfully he got up to applause from a loving and caring NH crowd, hopefully this won’t have dented his confidence.
Jockey Bridget Andrews gained her biggest win to date on Stephanie Frances in the Listed Mares’ Hurdle over 2m, a hold up mare she was given a well timed ride to land the OLBG sponsored contest by just half a length to Midnight Jazz and looks likely to be kept to her own sex this season,she stays 2m4f and one feasible target could be the Warwick race in February over 2m3f in the new year.
In the minor races on the card Double W’s from Malcolm Jefferson’s stable took the opening 1m7f Nov Hcap Chase and followed up his recent Carlisle win, he is thriving this autumn and looks more than feasible that his 135 mark will shoot over the 140s after this.
Ozzie The Oscar ran out an impressive winner of the 2m Novice Hurdle finishing six lengths ahead of debutant Zipple Back, both will make into good horses,the winner jumped well and his experience helped,he will be interesting to follow in handicaps now,Zipple Back was 9th in the Aintree bumper and should strip fitter for this but he did get in close at a few and should go on from here and pick a race up easily.
Zeroshadesofgrey gave Royal Vacation an 11 length beating in the 3m Novice Chase,the winner jumped well in the main and staying races look his thing, Royal Vacation was beaten fair and square in this.
The finale saw ex Bloomfields/Godolphin runner Blue Rambler win on his debut for new trainer Ian Williams in the 2m3f Handicap Hurdle, sixth in the Cesarewitch on the flat he made a mockery of his 122 mark which looks to be raises quite a bit after this, Three miles will be no problem you would think and this is a race with a bit of a history behind it as former World Hurdle winner More Of That took this a couple of seasons ago.
In the best of Friday’s action trainer Paul Nicholls got his only other winner here with the ultra game Cliffs Of Dover in the Listed Wensleydale Hurdle over 2m which was his fourth win of the month, clearly thriving on his racing he is enjoying the jumping game but it’s a long way until the Triumph.
Indian Stream landed the 2m3f Listed Chase under a fierce ride by Noel Fehily for Neil Mulholland, despite being a bit tricky at the last she kept on well to land her fifth chase win on her eight start, the mares chase series could be a target for her now and she has won over three miles before, she will certainly be a good jumping broodmare in the future.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies had a poor Saturday but had a Fab Friday with Scotchtown running out an impressive winner of the 2m3f Novice Hurdle,the step up in trip on his hurdles debut proved the right call and he will pay his way and Robinshill came back from his summer hols in fine form as he made all to land the 2m Handicap Hurdle making a mockery of his mark of 115.
All in all two excellent days of racing in Yorkshire as the National Hunt season well and truly cranks up a few gears now.
Next up will be the two day Betfair Chase festival at Haydock, until then Goodbye.
Zipple Back,4yo trained by Alan King was 2nd in the 2m Nov Hdle,looks a winner in the making and should land a race next time out.
Blaklion,7yo from Nigel Twiston-Davies,got outpaced at the business end of the Charlie Hall but will improve and last seasons RSA winner jumped very well in the main.
Nietzsche,3yo from Brian Ellison was runner up in the Wensleydale and should make into a useful juvenile hurdler as the progresses, would be no shock to see him run in the big 3yo hurdle at Doncaster in December.