CHIDSWELL sprang a minor surprise as he claimed a clear-cut victory in the 888Sport Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster.
Trained by Nicky Richards and ridden by Craig Nichol, Chidswell carried bottom weight of just 10st 4lb in the three-mile, two-furlong feature and fairly flew home after the final fence.
Favourite Rocky’s Treasure and Dingo Dollar went toe-to-toe through the early exchanges and it was the market leader and top weight who cracked first, with a couple of lacklustre leaps seeing Rocky’s Treasure drop away.
That left Dingo Dollar in charge, but 18/1 shot Chidswell and his fellow Richards inmate Looking Well were on his heels and the stable companions settled down to battle it out with a couple to jump.
Chidswell took the early advantage and was in control when Looking Well took a tired fall at the last, leaving the winner to come home nine lengths clear of Dingo Dollar, with Brian Boranha third.
Richards said: “He didn’t know what price he was. He’s a bit of a boy, I promise you – he’s a bit of a comedian to ride at home. He’s not an old man’s ride, like me.
“He needs to be fresh, so we won’t be rushing him back quickly – but he’s going to make a fine, staying chaser for the next two or three years.”
The winner was providing owners David and Nicky Robinson with some compensation after another of their horses – the Richards-trained Baywing – suffered a fatal fall in last Saturday’s Eider Chase at Newcastle.
David Robinson said: “That was fantastic after last week. It couldn’t have been better.
“That was horrible, last week. But onwards and upwards – don’t look back, always look forward, and look for the next one.
“The northern racing community is a family, and we’ve had loads of texts and emails. If you look on Nicky Richards’ Facebook page, there are 130 comments offering condolences.
“I was a bit nervous today, with what happened last week. Going to the first fence, he was very, very fresh and had his head up, but once he settled, I thought ‘just get round’. Then you could tell he was going very, very well.
“There was a little bit of a doubt whether he’d stay, but we thought he would do, and he has done. (Jockey) Craig (Nichol) said he stayed very, very well.”