Editeur Du Gite announced himself as a Champion Chase contender with a heroic performance in the Albert Bartlett Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.
WHAT. A. RACE. ??— Racing TV (@RacingTV) January 28, 2023
A pulsating renewal of the G1 Clarence House Chase with Editeur Du Gite a brilliant & brave winner of the two-mile event for @gl_racing under @niall_houli, getting the better of Edwardstone @CheltenhamRaces pic.twitter.com/wgcA7oNVmv
Gary Moore’s nine-year-old was not in the original line-up for the Grade 1 contest when it was due to be run at Ascot seven days ago and was only added into the mix when connections stumped up £2,250 to supplement him for the rearranged race on Monday.
The contest was seen as star-studded clash between Willie Mullins’ Champion Chase hero Energumene and Alan King’s Arkle champion Edwardstone in the build up and although the headline acts failed to land the spoils, the race more than lived up to its billing.
The 14/1 winner took up his customary front-running role in the hands of Niall Houlihan and led the field along with the market principals willing to bide their time, Tom Cannon anchoring Edwardstone in rear with a target on Paul Townend and Energumene’s back.
But as was the case at Kempton at Christmas when Editeur Du Gite snatched the Desert Orchid Chase from the front, he was still striding on strongly when the field turned for home and alarm bells started to ring for the major players.
Townend required a big leap from Energumene to have any chance of victory at the last and when the Tony Bloom-owned nine-year-old put down, it left only Edwardstone to chase Houlihan and his willing mount up the Cheltenham hill.
Although Cannon edged his way to a narrow advantage with the line looming, Editeur Du Gite fought back just in time to secure a gutsy head success.
It was an emotional win for connections who tasted Champion Chase success with Sire De Grugy in 2014 and their latest two-mile chasing star was cut to 5/1 by some firms for that Cheltenham Festival championship race.
?? "The horse tried so hard for me."@niall_houli - a G1 winning rider & effusive in his praise of willing partner Editeur Du Gite who gamely landed the Albert Bartlett Clarence House Chase this afternoon@gl_racing | @CheltenhamRaces pic.twitter.com/4438iYeTie— Racing TV (@RacingTV) January 28, 2023
Josh Moore, representing the winning stable of Gary Moore, said: “It is a pleasant surprise I suppose. He does love it around here. I was annoyed with myself doing the decs a year ago for the Champion Chase as I said the best chance he has got is in the Grand Annual and at the time I wish we would have run in the Champion Chase.
"He showed he was a good horse at Kempton Park. It is not surprising he has won that today but in Edwardstone and Energumene it didn’t look like they could get beaten. At the top of the hill I thought he was going very well when you were expecting them to come at you again. From jumping two out I thought he has won this now. He is a tough horse and he does stay well. We have only run him over two and a half once but he didn’t perform that well that day. He is a strong stayer over two miles.
"I didn’t have anything to do with Sire De Grugy but it is good that those colours are back going again. One of the owners Trevor Jacobs has been in a hospital for nearly six months so it is good for him. He is making progress which is good though. I guess we will look at the Champion Chase now but he won’t be a 14-1 chance for that. It is a big win for Niall as that is his first Grade One and it was probably his first big winner he rode aboard this horse at Kempton Park so it is nice for him. If I’m honest with you he is an absolute gentleman to ride in a race.
"Niall has got confidence him as well so it works out well. I remember I won a novice chase on him at Newbury and I said to dad we should go for the Red Rum at Aintree now. I know that was a handicap but he won that race well that day. I’ve always thought he is up to this level. Dad is watching at home today. He would be jumping up and down screaming but I don’t know if he would be in tears.”