GORDON Elliott was in dominant form at Down Royal with a magnificent seven winners, although the feature Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase eluded him as a touch of Frost saw Frodon race to victory to give Paul Nicholls a fifth win in the race.
The 2020 King George VI Chase-winning partnership of Bryony Frost and Frodon set their stall out from flag fall with a series of fluent leaps which served to set their opponents on the back foot throughout the contest. It appears to have been run in a fast time when measured against the handicap won by Mindsmadeup over the same course and distance.
The time difference between the two was an enormous 17.9 seconds, to endorse the view.
However, in comparison to the Grade 2 won by Envoi Allen (163), Frodon’s overall race time when adjusted for distance was slower.
Add the presence of 90-rated Echoes Of Family (135?), who was second to the Cheveley Park Stud-owned chaser, to the equation and allotting a rating based on the overall time-figure becomes a conundrum.
Taking each race from the second last with a circuit to run, supports the opinion Envoi Allen’s was indeed the fastest of the three races as Henry de Bromhead’s gelding would have crossed the line 4.3 seconds, or about 21 lengths in front of Frodon and, moreover, 48 lengths in front of Mindsmadeup (118).
So, whichever view you take, Echoes Of Family has appeared to run way above anything achieved previously with the question being, can Eddie and Patrick Harty’s gelding repeat the dose?
The finishing splits also weigh in favour of Envoi Allen as the seven-year-old covered the ground from the fourth last fence in 104.7 seconds compared to Frodon (145) who finished off in 107.2 seconds.
Mindsmadeup completed the sectional the fastest although his 103.8 seconds was made possible by the slow gallop that the rest of the data portrays.
Frodon was beaten 34 lengths behind Minella Indo (140) and was quite obviously below his best at Cheltenham last March, so Envoi Allen still has a few lengths to find on this performance if he is to mount a challenge for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but in the short term, the latter looks back to his imperious best over trips shorter than that contested at Prestbury Park in March.
The hurdle races on Saturday’s card were also inconclusive with only Eskylane’s handicap run at anything like a true gallop. The son of Flemensfirth led home a one-two for Gordon Elliott (138) as Magic Tricks chased home the seven-year-old and, along with Future Proof, were the only runners to take from the field with similar handicaps in mind.
American Mike (144+) lined up for the concluding bumper with a lofty reputation and fully justified the tag with a performance of high quality to make it four winners on the day for his trainer. The difference in overall race-time comparison with Eskylane (144) was 7.8 seconds which would more than allow for jumping the same number of hurdles.
An estimate of the achievement would put American Mike’s comparative rating in line with Eskylane’s handicap mark which is likely to rise to the mid 140s.
Shorter comparisons of the two races back this up as the son of Mahler would have crossed the line 6.2 seconds in front of the handicap winner if the race was over the circuit and his 29.04 seconds from the path on the home turn was also faster than Eskylane who stopped the clock at 30.13 for the same distance of ground.