Royale Glory In Marsh
Top weight of 11st 10lb proved to be no problem whatsoever for Royale Pagaille as he dug in to land back to back Peter Marsh Chases under Charlie Deutsch for trainer Venetia Williams to land a third course win at Haydock on what was a stellar afternoon for the winter game.
In a race full of Haydock specialists they did go a fair clip as would be expected for a race of this nature but under a patient waiting ride in ground that eased to soft throughout the day he picked his rivals off before sharing the lead at the final ditch from where he battled on and fot the better over Sam Brown by half a length in a race that really got at the heart strings.
The husband of winning owner Susan Ricci, Rich Ricci was very jovial in the winners enclosure and shared his delight with everyone showing his appreciation which went down nicely with the racegoers who surrounded the place after the race was over.
A visit to the Cheltenham Gold Cup again is highly likely and while he does have a bit to find from last year’s run where he finished lame it is possible that in a wide open year he would have as good a chance as any.
Oscar Performance For Tommy
Trophy success in Newcastle has been severely limited in recent years but for trainer Ann Hamilton and her husband Ian they could well be offered a chance to have a trophy parade at St James’s Park as Tommy’s Oscar became best gelding in a leading role as he breezed home in the G2 Champion Hurdle Trial.
In thriving form this season he was making this four wins on the bounce coming clear from the rest of the field under Danny McMenamin who timed his ride perfectly as he landed a big Saturday wih for himself and trainer Ann Hamilton.
Taking this off 156 he is almost certain to head straight to Cheltenham for the Champion Hurdle and despite the attentions of super mare Honeysuckle the Hamilton’s have nothing to lose by having a go.
JonBon Keeps The Faith
Odds on favorite JonBon gave punters a bad name amongst the bookies as the 2/5f easily obliged in workmanlike fashion to land the G2 Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle.
Up against some decent sorts in what looked a tight race on paper he travelled and jumped pretty well although he did have to be shaken up by Aidan Coleman when getting to the business end to land the spoils for trainer Nicky Henderson who no doubt was probably more relieved than anything as he continues his learning over timber on what was a big day for the trainer as Shishkin’s race at Ascot was still two very long hours away.
He will head to the Supreme in what looks a hot race and the potential to be the best race of the whole Festival but he looks like he needs a bit further so it would be no surprise if he went up in trip either at Cheltenham or Aintree.
No Drama For Minella
It seems it isn’t a Haydock meeting without a Donald McCain winner and this afternoon proved just that as Minella Drama took the opening G2 Altcar Novices’ Chase in the style of an improving type.
Jumping well and kept right on the hare rail throughout under Brian Hughes he showed his appreciation for the step up in trip, last sighted when down the field in a big G1 Novice Chase at Sandown last month he foynd this company more to his liking and is making into a nice chaser.
He holds an entry in the 2m4f Novice Chase at Cheltenham but it would be no shock if he bypassed that in favour for a crack at the two big 2m4f Novice Chases at Ayr or Aintree instead, he will get three miles in time.
Sadly in the race Clondaw Castle took a fatal fall down the back straight, Condolences to her owners and all connections at Ruth Jefferson’s.