WINCANTON staged its feature chase of the season on Saturday and a competitive field delivered a staying chase of high-quality, run at a ferocious gallop.
Rocco (142) was a tenacious winner after winning the battle of the front runners who were equal in pace to both two-and-a-half-mile chases on the card for well over a circuit and a half of the Somerset venue.
Unfortunately, it was not possible to compile any finishing splits due to the sad demise of Storm Home.
However at the last in the back straight, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained winner left the ground 0.7 seconds before Captain Tom Cat (138) when taking the two races from the second fence in the “Rising Stars” Novices Chase.
Potterman (140) finished closest of those who came from off the pace and Alan King’s gelding clocked a faster time then in the contest last year when second to El Presente.
The eight-year-old heads to the Ladbroke Trophy in fine fettle and, as long as his exertions on Saturday have not left a mark, he will be staying on when many have given best, albeit he may be in competition with more than one or two more unexposed rivals that day.
Looking further down the line, the first three home in last year’s renewal of the race proceeded to contest the finish of the season in the closing Bet365 Chase at Sandown and a repeat circumstance may occur given the way this contest was run.
Aintree also saw another possible Ladbrokes Trophy Chase contender make his seasonal debut albeit over hurdles as Remastered ran a race full of promise for the season when finishing third to Koshari in the Pertemps Qualifier.
Koshari (142) showed he still has plenty to offer for his new stable in posting the quickest overall time on the day when adjusted for distance. A shortened extract of the race against the visually impressive Brewinupastorm (140) would have seen the first four home in the three-mile event cross the line before Olly Murphy’s gelding.
Remastered (140) cut out the running at a pace which would have seen him cross the hurdle on the side of the course four seconds or 20 lengths in front of Summerville Boy (126) who led the Betway Hurdle field.
Admittedly the closing sectionals weigh in the favour of Brewinupastorm (70.6 vs Koshari 73) although David Pipe’s gelding’s forte is stamina and not speed.
The eight-year-old has met with defeat just once over fences in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham on drying ground so if granted a soft surface at Newbury it will take a good one to pass him if he finds a similar rhythm over the larger obstacles.
The same comments can also apply to Deise Aba (141) who is another from the Philip Hobbs stable who looks rejuvenated this season. The eight-year-old has excelled at Sandown when the mud is flying in the past.
NEWBURY hosted its opening jump fixture of the season last week and although there were absentees on account of the ground there were performances over hurdles and fences by novices worthy of analysis with their next assignment in mind.
Silent Revolution (130+) made a successful debut over hurdles and looks set for a bright future when racing on a sound service.
The overall race time was faster than the opening handicap hurdle although this data only scratches the surface of his superiority as they overcame an early pace slow enough to have put Paul Nicholls’s novice at a disadvantage of around 20 lengths at the last hurdle in the back straight when matched on a split-screen view.
Quickening from that point, the son of Sholokhov would have crossed the line approximately eight and half lengths in front of Siroco Jo (120) as the five-year-old’s 53.34 seconds from the fourth last was 4.9 seconds faster than his stablemate. Broomfield Burg (129+) was inconvenienced by the slow early pace as the tendency to pull hard in his races was pronounced despite the efforts of Nico de Boinville.
However, the finishing effort of his conqueror shows he still possessed energy at the finish and suggested Nicky Henderson’s gelding will be better suited by a more genuine end-to-end gallop in handicaps. Boombawn (127+) also emerges from the race with credit and will no doubt be better for this experience on his hurdling debut in just his second race.
The formative stages of the two-runner chase won by Silver Forever (138+) were understandably slow given it was a duel. However, Paddy Brennan pressed the accelerator pedal from around halfway up the home straight on the first circuit to ensure a sufficient test for his mount Imperial Alcazar (135+).
The effect of the increase in pace saw the duo ran fast enough to have beaten handicap winner Dublin Four (135) in an artificially shortened race. The closing sectionals from the cross-fence confirm the findings as Silver Forever covered the ground in 79.9 seconds compared to Dublin Four who ran down his field in stopping the clock at 81.6 seconds.
Eyecatchers of the week
Ask Me Early (120+), Tuesday 2nd November, Exeter – made a strong start to the season over hurdles and looks primed for a Welsh Grand National bid having excelled at Chepstow in the past.
Witness Protection (136), Wednesday 3rd November – led his field a merry dance throughout and was pinpoint accurate at his fences which will serve him well when moving into a higher grade.
In This World (126+), Friday 5th November, Warwick – made a smooth winning debut over for hurdles for team Skelton who won this race previously with Allmankind and looks sure to be campaigned as a Triumph Hurdle candidate.