A case of deja vu for three horses who won on the 2016 Peter Marsh Chase Day as they all came back to run again, two won the same races while one won a different race on what was a solo day for National Hunt racing with Haydock Park proudly flying the flag high while the other two meetings at Ascot and Taunton were both succumbed by a severe attack of Jack Frost.
Just like last year trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies resplendent in his duffle coat took two of the races with the same horses who struck on last years card and made the journey back south down the M6 and M5 that little bit quicker.
First up The New One won the feature Grade Two Champion Hurdle Trial in the usual way here by having to dig in and really fight to regain his crown and in doing so won this near 2m contest for the third consecutive year and this writing his name into Haydock folklore, it wasn’t easy as expected as previous course winner Clyne upped the anti coming around the home turn and had them all at it, The New One and L’ami Serge both went up either side of Clyne and despite some awful leaps at the final three hurdles The New One made sure his class showed as he just got the better of Clyne by a length.
The New One now makes his way straight to the Champion Hurdle or possibly the Stayers’ Hurdle depending who turns up and he still retains his ability at the high level of hurdling, Clyne reportedly heads to Newbury for the big Betfair Hurdle and he is potentially well treated for that race, L’ami Serge continues to flatter to deceive when it matters and anyone backing him must be wary about his attitude.
Bristol De Mai who won the big novice chase on last years card romped home in the Grade Two Peter Marsh Chase over 3m, not seen since finishing second at Newcastle in the Rehearsal he has been campaigned exclusively in the north this season with his only other run being at Carlisle, many people doubted wether he got the trip but he saw this out with the minimum of fuss as he demolished a top quality field by 22 lengths from his Newcastle conqueror Otago Trail.
He was trimmed in the Gold Cup betting but equally could go for the 2m5f race, he has the chasing world at his Oyster now he has showed that he stays three miles.
Talking horse Alary from the Tizzard’s was hyped up as a genuine good un but found this too much before being pulled up with three to jump, he has only won two of his twenty starts but was put in on top weight here off a BHA mark of 162, he will be better for the run but must be treated with caution when he runs again, maybe a smaller field will suit him but off this you would not want to back him in the Gold Cup with anyone’s money.
Elsewhere Neon Wolf created a very good impression amongst many as he romped home in the Supreme Novices’ Trial, he hurdled very well taking plenty of air as he jumped and he will be even better when sent over further and fences, connections may avoid Cheltenham with him but he is an exciting prospect for the Harry Fry stable, runner up Elgin couldn’t live with the winner but he held his form well after his Kempton win and he could pop back next month for the Adonis over 2m before possibly going to Aintree as the flatter kind of course is clearly in his favour.
Waiting Patiently made it a hat trick of wins over fences by overpowering Politologue in the Grade 2 Novices Chase over 2m4f, Held up at the back by Brian Hughes he had to work for this bagging the near side rail helped massively as it kept him straight to hold on by a length and a quarter.
Connections might avoid the festival with him but he will have entries in the Arkle and JLT but with soft ground being in his favour then an ideal race would be the one at Ayr on Scottish National Day over 2m4f, Politologue was giving 3lbs to the winner but lost nothing in defeat, possibly the slight drop in trip didn’t suit so a step up to three miles will see him in a much better light.
Donald McCain was on the scoresheet last year with Ubaltique and again they repeated the same result as he breezed home in the 2m chase even off a much higher mark, he is consistent in these middle tier kind of races and it’s possible a step up to 2m4f and get him into a Challenger Qualifier for Easter Saturday.
Deepsand in the opening 2m hurdle continued Lucinda Russell’s good run as he scored for the first time since 2013 as he just got over the line from a staying on Vocaliser in the dying strides, fourth on his recent start at Newcastle two weeks ago he really had to work under his jockey Alexander Thorne (10lb) while the final race a staying hurdle over 2m7f saw Dadsintrouble bounce back to form after his October fall at Cheltenham and could be aimed at a Pertemps qualifier possibly.
Some more than useful racing then on a stellar card at a chilly but thankfully more viewer friendly Haydock than last time.
Stars of the show were without doubt The New One and Bristol De Mai, both won their respective races in different styles and showed the sport at its most exciting.
Next racing on here will be hopefully the Towton Novices’ Chase meeting at Wetherby in two weeks time, at this time of year of course the weather can have a say in what occurs.
Bishops Road,9yo trained by Kerry Lee was staying on third in the Peter Marsh but over twenty five lengths behind the winner, could be back here next month for the National trial or off to Newcastle for the Eider.
Clyne,7yo from Evan Williams’ yard had won his last four starts including two here but put up s career best when runner up in the Champion Hurdle trial, Newbury will be next but a possible target could be the Scottish Champion Hurdle which should suit him down to the ground and will be a nice novice chaser next term should connections go that way.