Politologue was the star attraction on day one of the two day Betfair Chase festival at a very damp and soggy Haydock Park as he thrashed what potentially looked a decent field into submission in the days feature prize the 2m5f novice chase beating Vintage Clouds by ten lengths in what was the performance of the day.
Sitting behind the pace to begin with he went away easily from the fourth last and jumped his fences pretty easily, only a 5yo he has plenty going for him for his owner John Hales and trainer Paul Nicholls, he should make into a quality novice especially when upped to three miles.On an afternoon which included some intriguing novice events Tahira gained some much valuable black type as she made all to win the Listed Newton Novice Hurdle over 2m, twice a winner in the summer this six year old mare had struggled since her Warwick win in September and could be aimed at the Dawn Run race at the festival.
Cloudy Dream continued his excellent start to his novice chase campaign under a kind ride by man of the moment Brian Hughes as he easily landed his second steeplechase in the 2m Graduation Chase, leading after two out he jumped very nicely and a step up in Grade looks likely in time, if he has a short break then possibly the Grade Two novice events at Doncaster or Warwick in late January and early February could be targeted, runner up Pain Au Chocolat found this much easier than the Haldon Gold Cup recently but is not easy to place at the moment.
Trainer Graeme McPherson landed a winner as Ami Desbois picked up where he left off in the spring as he followed up from his Hexham maiden hurdle win, he kept good company on his last two runs which were in Graded company and these two wins will have done his confidence a world of good, handicap debutant and favourite Sharp Response ran a credible race back in third and should pick a race up on a slightly easier surface.
Finally after a tricky and testing Sunday last weekend at Cheltenham,Nicky Henderson got a double up in the Haydock mire as ex pointer Constantine Bay just got the better of the Paul Nicholls trained Brio Conti by half a length, both look useful types with the winner certainly looking like a stayer in the making, Brio Conti travelled well and did look all over the winner until he was asked but should also make up into a decent sort.
The other winner for the Henderson team came in the concluding bumper as the very well regarded Claimantakinforgan landed the spoils on his debut, costing £110,000 at the sales he came out of this race with his reputation in tact, wether he stays in bumpers or goes hurdling is another thing, only 4 he has lots to offer.
Some good quality racing albeit with some small but quality fields, tomorrow sees the 12th running of the Betfair Chase although the rain has been very persistent for most of the day,no inspection is planned at the moment although it could well turn into a real slog in the Haydock mud.
Costly Dream,4yo trained by Philip Hobbs,sixth in the bumper but did show up for a bit before tiring, he will strip fitter and offer more in time.