Air Charter Service Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Group 1)

GERRI Colombe (Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell) finished well when just beaten by The Real Whacker in the Brown Advisory at Cheltenham last month, but made no mistake when gaining a third Grade 1 success of the season in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.

The seven-year-old was outpaced at a crucial stage before staying on best at Cheltenham, and he was given the perfect set-up here courtesy of Galia De Liteaux pressing on a long way out to make this a thorough test.

The winner was backed to the exclusion of all others after betting opened, and was sent off the 4/6 favourite to confirm Cheltenham form with Brown Advisory third Bronn, and backers had no anxious moments as Bronn spoiled his winning chance with a series of errors, doing well to chase the winner through before his efforts took their toll, and that allowed Complete Unknown (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden) to stay on for second, albeit seven and a quarter lengths behind the facile winner.

This was Davy Russell’s second Grade 1 success since his return from retirement and he admitted that it needed Elliott to convince him to continue after an unhappy Cheltenham Festival where he ended up standing himself down for the ride on Conflated in the Gold Cup. This horse has that race on his agenda for next year, and looks like he can go all the way when stamina is at a premium.

Inthepocket boosts Supreme formline/section>lin

Poundland Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

THE Supreme Novices’ Hurdle looked a very warm race this year, and that notion was bolstered when Cheltenham fourth Inthepocket (Henry de Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore) beat Supreme also-ran Strong Leader (Olly Murphy/Sean Bowen) by a length and three-quarters having been backed into favourite at 3/1, thereby providing De Bromhead with a first Grade 1 in the colours of J.P. McManus.

Luccia (Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville) was a further length back in third, while Gordon Elliott’s well-fancied Found A Fifty didn’t seem to handle the track, lugging to his right throughout, and was unplaced.

The six-year-old Inthepocket was runner-up in the Grade 1 Brave Inca Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival and turned the tables on Leopardstown winner Il Etait Temps in the Supreme to show himself to be progressing still, and he merely needed to repeat that form to come out best from the runner-up, who finished with a wet sail from an impossible position.

The winner travelled comfortably throughout, and looked set for an easy win when Rachael Blackmore struck on from the weakening Matata after jumping the second last, but as at Cheltenham, he showed a tendency to hang after the last, and needed to be ridden out to ensure victory, and Blackmore - who dropped her stick - admitted that she was left in front earlier than she wanted.

De Bromhead said: “The Supreme form looks very good, I’m delighted with that and I think that is our first Grade 1 winner for the McManus family. He warmed into i. He was a little bit slow over the first couple but he’s a horse we’ve always thought a lot of and it’s nice to see him go and prove it.

“I was a bit worried about coming back after Cheltenham, but it didn’t make a difference. He was really good. I imagine he’ll be going in a field now and then we’ll see. He’s obviously got good size and scope [but] there are no plans at the moment.”

Pic D’Orhy caps fine season for Nicholls

Marsh Chase (Registered as The Melling Chase) (Grade 1)

PIC D’Orhy once looked like slipshod jumping would fatally compromise his chasing career, but he has proved a revelation this season, with his only defeat coming when second to Shishkin in the Ascot Chase.

The 4/1 second choice of the public, he gained his fourth win of the term when staying on too strongly for favourite Fakir D’Oudairies (Joseph O’Brien/Mark Walsh) for a four-and-a-quarter-length win, with Minella Drama (Donald McCain/Brian Hughes) beaten seven lengths in third after making much of the running.

The winner is a credit to his trainer, who has nursed him through the ranks over fences without over facing him, while the runner-up ran a typically game race in his bid for a hat-trick in this contest, but couldn’t get to grips with Pic D’Orhy, who jumped well aside from a slight scare at the very first fence.

Minella Drama did well to finish close up, given he came in for quite an aggressive ride, and he helped ensure that the race was a proper test, which saw several of the runners struggling to keep up from a relatively early stage.

Apple’s away and gone for Russell team

Winners Wear Cavani Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

LUCINDA Russell provided a shock result in the Grade 1 Sefton in 2021 when Ahoy Senor announced himself at the highest level, and she helped to make up for that horse’s agonising defeat in the Bowl by saddling the Arctic Cosmos mare Apple Away (Stephen Mulqueen) to take the latest running of this three-mile contest for novices.

The winner proved very tough, and withheld the late challenge of River Don Novices’ Hurdle winner Maximilian (Donald McCain/Brian Hughes) by a length and three-quarters, with Iroko (Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero/Mark Walsh) staying on late to rob Stay Away Fay of third place, just over three lengths behind the winner.

The 16/1 winner was immediately sent into the lead, much as her stablemate was two years ago, and while strongly pressed all the way up the home straight, she kept digging to give a cool-headed Mulqueen his first Grade 1 success in the saddle.

Lucinda Russell said of the daughter of The Old Road Stud sire Arctic Cosmos: “It’s absolutely brilliant and I’m so delighted for Old Gold Racing. When they started on this micro-share thing I thought it might not work, but it absolutely works for horses like her and situations like this.

“Scu was confident that she had what it takes, as she’s just relentless and just keeps on galloping. I thought Stephen did a very good job of kicking that early and getting that lead. She’ll go chasing. She’s a relentless galloper and she takes to jumping fantastic.”


Greatrex greets welcome winner

THERE was a welcome winner in the Randox Supports Race Against Dementia Topham Handicap Chase for Warren Greatrex when the 20/1 shot Bill Baxter stayed on strongly to beat fellow British-trained Fantastic Lady and Killer Kane by a length and three quarters and 12 lengths with Haut En Couleurs in fourth the best of the Irish.

There was also a British-trained winner of the final two-mile amateurs race when Punctuation (40/1) and Liam Harrison stayed on strongly to give Fergal O’Brien a second winner of the meeting.