Haydock Park, Saturday 20th November 2021, Betfair Chase Day

Blackmore In Haydock Heaven

Rachael Blackmore may be County Tipperary born and bred but it’s very fair to say the good people of the north west have now given her honorary northern status and probably a statue in somewhere like St Helens now following her stellar 2021 which saw become the first female jockey to achieve the ultimate in winning the Grand National and yesterday afternoon on a beautiful autumnal afternoon she added another G1 to her ever expanding CV when landing the G1 Betfair Chase on A Plus Tard at Haydock Park.

In a race which was probably not a vintage renewal of this famous steeplechase A Plus Tard cruised behind the early pace and was happily popping away at his fences when he picked up the lead at the final open ditch from which he and his jockey effortlessly brezzed clear from the rest to come home by a yawning gap of 22 lengths ahead of Royale Pagaille who cut out the early running with Bristol De Mai who was pulled up before the end and couldn’t get his record equaling fourth win.

A Plus Tard certainly looks to have improved a lot since last season, he needs left handed tracks which is why Henry de Bromhead brought him over for this race, he is likely to take in the two big G1 chases over 3m at Leopardstown in December and February before bidding to go one better in the Gold Cup and maybe a visit down the East Lancs to Aintree for tbe Bowl, for jockey Rachael Blackmore this was her first ever ride around Haydock and she gave A Plus Tard a dream ride.

Royale Pagaille loves Haydock and ran with credit, Kempton will be his next port of call for a crack at the King George and he might be a Grand National horse this season, As for Bristol De Mai he couldn’t quite dominate as usual and was wisely pulled up, January’s Peter Marsh back here might be an option but this could be the last time we see him at Haydock.

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Bravemansgame On The Way Up

Paul Nicholls seldom leaves Haydock without a winner and he had good reason to smile on the M6 and M5 yesterday evening as Bravemansgame made it two from two for the season as he put in an exemplary round of jumping in the 2m5f Graduation Chase.

A high quality novice hurdler last season he was third at the Festival behind Bob Olinger who duly obliged over fences at Gowran Park on the same day, Bravemansgame looks an absolute natural over the bigger obstacles and jumped the Haydock fences very well, his trainer has said the Kauto Star Novice at Kempton on Boxing Day will be next for him and he looks like he should stay the three mile trip.

Welsh On Fire

On what was an excellent afternoon for Welsh sport with the rugby team beating Australia in Cardiff, the respective Williams trainers of Evan and Christian both had the long journeys back to Llancarfan and Bridgend with a real spring in their steps.

First off came Dans La Vent under Evan’s daughter Isabel who produced a well timed ride to come through the field to land her biggest career success in the G3 Handicap Hurdle over 3m, on what is always a tough race Isabel brought him through on the run in to overpower Riggs in the kast half furlong, going in off 135 he will definitely get a reaction from the handicapper so a step up to G1 and G2 company will be next you’d imagine.

Christian Williams will be thinking of Chepstow right now as Strictlyadancer waltzed home in the 3m1f Handicap Chase and landing his third win in a row, following on from this Cheltenham win last weekend he is in flying form with the handicapper having not quite got hold of him just yet.

Barrichello Magnifico

The opening Listed Newton Novices’ Hurdle saw an all the way win for the Donald McCain trained Barrichello who went from pillar to post to land a tight looking contest in good style.

After landing a 2m4f Novice event at Bangor last week he was turned out fairly quickly and used his experience to good measure, originally chasing was meant to be the plan with him but now his trainer will certainly have to ponder if fences remains the objective or go to Warwick or Haydock in January for a couple of good Grade 2 Novice Hurdle races.

Haydock really did come alive this afternoon as the crowds poured through the gates even at the early opening time of 10.10am, such is their keenness and devotion to the sport, it’s afternoon’s like this that remind you why you go racing.

The jumps season is very much in full swing now with a huge smorgasbord of top quality racing every weekend right up to the Christmas festivities.

Just like the course people were resplendent in their warm winter clothing which was adorned with the yellow Betfair scarves (other betting exchanges available) as the occasional gust of wind blew the brown leaves down from the parade ring trees and into the path of the racegoers, it was a day of racing that was much needed after all of us were confined to barracks last year.

Next up will be a return to Haydock in around 10 days for a small midweek jumping card, till then take care.

Aintree Races, Saturday 6th November 2021, Grand Sefton Chase Day

The weekend may well have had racing fans focused on Del Mar in California where apparently “The turf meets the surf” but for fans of the winter game especially in the north west it was off to Aintree where “The turf meets the Leeds and Liverpool Canal”

A slight revamp of what is traditionally one of the more quieter racedays at Aintree which included the repositioning of the Grand Sefton from December to November along with a huge influx of students from the big city universities led to a nice feel amongst the old place as the north west jumps season continued to move up a notch.

With that let’s take a look at the best of the action on quite a wet and chilly afternoon in this part of Merseyside which was occasionally met with some strong winds coming in from the East to really test the horses not to mention the racegoers!

Bullseye For The Bowen’s

It wasn’t a case of “Let’s look at what you could have won” for Pembrokeshire based trainer Peter Bowen as Mac Tottie under James Bowen put in a super smashing great performance over the famous big fences to land Saturday’s feature Grand Sefton Chase and to pick up Bully’s Special Prize of £31424 which went to the winning owner.

In a competitive looking event they went a decent clip and plenty held chances crossing the Melling Road by the Anchor Bridge as they reached the business end of the race, Mac Tottie who was towards the main body of the field throughout and popped away at his fences led at the last fence and from there he had the attentions of Senior Citizen as they headed towards the elbow, many times the lead has changed here in the past but he kept his head down and stuck to the task doggedly to land the big prize.

Mac Tottie has a well earned beverage

He has the qualifications for April’s big race and looks likely to come back next month for fhe Becher Chase over 3m2f where he will have to take on some battle hardened stayers but he has form over 3m so will be in the shake up, Senior Citizen ran a solid race in defeat and could reverse the form if he comes back next month also.

Thirteen horses set out and eleven returned home safely with one horse being pulled up and one horse, Spyglass Hill, who decided to unseat Hugh Morgan after the Canal Turn, all came home safely.

Best Of The Rest

Olly Murphy and Aidan Coleman both teamed up to land a double on the afternoon with the classy Brewin’upastorm being one of them who breezed clear from a very good field of hurdlers to land the 2m4f Conditions Hurdle.

Returning back to timber obstacles has clearly shown to be the best choice by Olly Murphy, the trainer has suggested going to France and Ireland with him for the Graded races over this trip which makes good sense as only the Ascot Hurdle and National Spirit would be his best chances for this trip, the Aintree Hurdle in April will be his long term target throughout the season.

Brewin’upastorm and Aidan Coleman

October began with Germany taking the Arc with an 80-1 winner and November saw Irish trainer David Christie land the Pertemps Qualifier with Koshari at the same price, he mixes hurdles and fences but may be hard to place now after this, one horse who ran very eye catchingly was David Pipe’s Remastered in third and he looks set for a good campaign in the big long distance chases.

Finally in the opening constest the green and yellow jacket of the late Trevor Hemmings brought back happy memories of the great man as the Henry Daly trained Hillcrest took the EBF Novice Hurdle Qualifier over 2m4f, he is very much an embryonic chaser and has a nice career ahead of him

Hillcrest

The jumps season is well and truly alive now and the temperature begins to rise as the action gets hotter every weekend from now until the end of the season.

While the sport is currently sailing it’s way through a rocky patch at the moment with various stories that I’m sure you are aware of it’s important to remember that this is why we love the racing, for all that is occurring off the course and in the weighing room it is these wonderful animaks that always get to our hearts first.

Betfair Chase at Haydock in two weeks next, do join us for that.