Haydock Park,Saturday 24th November 2018, Betfair Chase Day. 

The King

On paper it was billed as a two horse race, In the racing media it was billed as a two horse race but thankfully Bristol De Mai has got better things to do with his life during the week than to scroll through Twitter and read the views of the many opinions that were given on the 2018 Betfair Chase as he made his way up the M5 and the M6 on Saturday to keep his 100% Haydock Park record in tact as he stopped the potential Blitzkreig On Yickers between Might Bite and Native River in determined style to repeat his win from last year to take another Betfair Chase back to Naunton and the yard of Nigel Twiston-Davies.  
Run on ground that was Good,Good to Soft in places the fences had cause for concern before the race as the two preceding steeplechases during the afternoon had five runners that had come to grief but thankfully all got up safely. 
Back to the race and a fantastic five of top class jumpers lined up for the first Grade One of the season and on paper it certainly asked more questions than it answered with last seasons Betfair,King George and Gold Cup winners all lined up with an improving sort from last season and a former Stayers’ Hurdle and King George winner to make up the field. 
Bristol De Mai just loves Haydock and from flag fall he shared duties up front with Native River and coming in off the final turn under Daryl Jacob began to firmly turn the screw on his grey warrior as he forged on over the final jumps and had the field easily held in behind to score by 4 lengths from Native River who never gave up as is his wont in a race of this type, Thistlecrack followed next then Clan Des Obeaux and last was the favourite Might Bite.

Bristol De Mai

Plenty of different targets could lie ahead now for the field here now, Bristol De Mai will no doubt head to Kempton on Boxing Day and he has won right handed so it possible that will be the next port of call. 
Native River probably isn’t suited by the Kempton so he could be better off going over to Ireland for the big Grade One at their Christmas Festival at Leopardstown which would suit his style better, Stablemate Thistlecrack will head to the Sunbury venue on Boxing Day and he ran a decent race and will come on a tom for this, Clan Des Obeaux also ran with credit and easily has a big race in him. 
Without doubt the big disappointment was Might Bite who never really got into the race come the business end, he was a bit a bit twitchy in the preliminaries and was keen early on, he might be worth dropping back in trip off this run but hopefully he will bounce back on Boxing Day where the course is far more up his street than this one. 
In some of the supporting races Paisley Park followed on from his win down the East Lancs at Aintree last month as he flew home like a horse running in the Temple Stakes to bag the Grade 3 Staying Hurdle under Aidan Coleman for Emma Lavelle, in a race which was much smaller field size wise compared to normal this 6yo made up plenty of ground on the run in of over 300 yards to mug Shades Of Midnight who looked all over the winner to many, Paisley Park is apparently off to Ascot next month for a step up in grade to have a go at the Long Walk Hurdle but given Emma Lavelle having a pretty decent record here then the Rendlesham in February could come into consideration. 
Paul Nicholls always does well at this meeting and Grand Sancy picked up his third win of the campaign to land the Listed Newton Novices’ Hurdle, like the other hurdle winners today he sat from off the pace and finished like a train on the run in, this 4yo continues to improve and still looks to have bags of potential and will be even better when sent chasing.

Grand Sancy


Finally the talented and sometimes frustrating Vintage Clouds took the final race over the same course and distance as the Betfair albeit not up to the same quality but he boasts some top form in the big long distance handicap chases and will now find himself having a possible post Christmas trip outing to either the Rowland Meryck or the Welsh National and being from Sue Smith’s yard a visit back here in February for the National Trial then all roads will no doubt head to Aintree for a go at the Grand National. 

Vintage Clouds


Over 13,000 people rolled into the Lancashire venue which was awash with a sea of yellow from the many scarves being given out by the sponsors and hopefully they had an enjoyable afternoon in an atmosphere not felt at a jump meeting here for quite a while, hopefully they will return during the rest of the season. 
Next up we head back here for a midweek fixture in December then it’s off to Aintree for the Becher Chase and some excellent pre Christmas fare. 
Till we meet up again, Goodbye. 

Wetherby Races,Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd November 2018, Charlie Hall Chase Meeting. 

Yorkshire may be proudly known as the “White Rose” county and be definitely white but for the many locals who made their way up the A1 to Wetherby it was a case of being Definitly Red as the Brian Ellison trained 9yo under Danny Cook took victory in the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase in what proved to be an incident packed contest despite only four facing the starter. 

Straight from flag fall Double Shuffle headed for the stage exit very quickly as he fell at the first fence and caused many groans from the crowd who had parted with the hard earned, two fences later and the favourite Black Corton met the first ditch on the wrong stride which caused him to promptly crash through the birch and send Bryony Frost right up his neck after she had gone up out of the saddle losing both irons in the process and somehow defying gravity in a way that even Sir Isacc Newton would have ripped up his workings out and begun from scratch. 

The recovery back in the saddle drew gasps from the crowd then a respectful round of applause for getting back on board and carrying on in a sight that has to be seen to be believed. 

Back to the race and Definitly Red put in a professional display here, connections are eyeing up a return to Aintree next month for the Many Clouds Chase where he could meet his old rival from last year Cloudy Dreams then a crack at the Coltswold Chase at Cheltenham in January, he is just short of Gold Cup class but a reliable type as ever. 

Black Corton might have been closer had that mistake not cost him any impetus which it most certainly did, potentially he has been ear marked for the big staying handicap at Newbury in early December but should he make another mistake like that then it could be worth going down the staying hurdle route if his jumping gets affected again, Virgilio back in third was always in last but ran on and might be a National horse. 

Definitly Red

Saturdays other feature races included the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle for the stayers over three miles and Nautical Nitwit was one of three horses to give Richmond trainer Philip Kirby a treble on the day as he coped with the step up in grade easily, the defections of Wholestone and Clyne could well have helped but he could only beat what was in the race and easily held off Old Guard by over a length and a bit, he will have to cope with a step up in grade after this. 

Lady Buttons kicked off the treble with a nice win in the mares’ hurdle over 2m, back over timber after finishing off her season at Aintree in the Maghull Novices’ on National day, she may mix hurdles and fences this season and taking this Listed contest will boost her black type value and while she may be outclassed in the big mares race at the Festival she should pay her way as the months go by. 

Lady Buttons

Friday was a far quieter day at the A1 venue but still contained some useful looking races. 

The feature Listed Handicap Chase over 2m4f went the way of the Skelton’s with Born Surivior who returned from a summer break to take this nice little prize ahead of last years winner Guitar Pete, connections are eyeing a go over the National fences next month in the Sefton before going back to Aintree in April for the Topham where he will try to stop Ultragold from getting the hat trick of wins in that race. 

Last week Doncaster held the last big race for juveniles with the Futurity but for the jumping brigade the first big juvenile race came in the form of the Listed Wensleydale Hurdle and the two tone green silks of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede were carried past the post first with Cracker Factory who disposed of market rival Born Survivor quite easily in the end coming home seven lengths clear, still improving over jumps this horse sets the standard at the moment and could appear at the Open meeting in a fortnights time unless Alan King decided son a return to Yorkshire in December for the Summit Hurdle on the run in to Christmas. 

Cracker Factory

One horse whose ahead of the handicapper at the moment is the Dr Newland trained Storm Rising who followed up last weekends Cheltenham win with minimum fuss, going in off the same mark of 123 he is due for a hefty rise in the weights but at the moment he looks in fine fettle. 

Novice Stars

Of the novice races a couple stood out. 

The 3m Novice Chase on Friday saw the Kim Bailey trained Rocky’s Treasure win nicely ahead of Poetic Rhythm who just like his debut at Chepstow lost some of his shoes, Rocky’s Treasure is shaping into a nice staying type at the moment and probably won’t be heading the RSA market but he has lots of scope about him and did a fine job giving plenty of weight to his rival. 

Novice Chasers pass the stands

Jamie Snowden has a nice type on his hands in Thistle Do Nicely who easily took the 2m Novice Hurdle on the Saturday, he is certainly going the right way over timber and this 4yo will probably be aimed at a better race after this. 

Thistle Do Nicely

In all fairness this was a fair meeting, the ground did affect the field sizes but still brought some competitive action on the track. 

Till next time Goodbye.