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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.