COPPERHEAD ran out a hugely impressive winner of what looked a hot Grade 2 Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot.
Colin Tizzard’s charge was having his first run in graded company after two easy handicap victories, but he blew some exalted opposition away by 17 lengths.
Big performance! Copperhead makes a successful step up from handicap company to rout his opposition under @JJONeillJnr for @colintizzard to provide him with back-to-back wins in the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at @Ascot ?? pic.twitter.com/AYmnErJOnB— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) February 15, 2020
The two market leaders, however, Sam Brown and Pym, never looked comfortable at any stage and were both pulled up a long way from home.
Paul Nicholls’ Danny Whizzbang made most of the running, but in testing conditions, he had raced keenly and faded early in the straight.
That left Copperhead with just Kim Bailey’s Two For Gold to beat and he soon brushed him off, powering clear over the final two fences.
Fresh from the biggest win of his fledgling career last week on Native River, jockey Jonjo O’Neill junior was adding another Grade 2 to his record.
Sporting John maintained his unbeaten record with a striking display in the Thames Materials Novices’ Hurdle.
Having won twice at Exeter previously, Philip Hobbs’ charge faced by far his stiffest test to date up against Colin Tizzard’s Master Debonair, who is fancied in some quarters for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
It was Tizzard’s runner that set the pace, with Barry Geraghty content to travel in his slipstream for much of the contest on Sporting John.
Turning into the straight, Jonjo O’Neill junior was sending out distress signals on the favourite as Sporting John (6/4) breezed alongside him.
A squeeze from Geraghty saw Sporting John shoot clear, as Pipesmoker came through to grab second, beaten six and a half lengths at the line.