Rocky’s Treasure galloped his rivals into submission in the bet365 December Novices’ Chase at Doncaster on Saturday.
A horse really going places - only beaten by RSA favourite Santini so far over fences, Rocky's Treasure secures the Grade 2 December Novices' Chase at @DoncasterRaces in emphatic style for @kimbaileyracing... pic.twitter.com/YtJLBe47Gt— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) December 15, 2018
Kim Bailey’s charge won his first three starts over fences, bolting up at Kelso and Fakenham in October before completing his hat-trick at Wetherby last month.
He was a clear second behind the highly-regarded Santini on his most recent outing at Newbury and was the 11/8 favourite to get back on the winning trail in this four-runner Grade 2.
Jockey David Bass appeared keen to ensure the three-mile contest was a searching test of stamina, sending Rocky’s Treasure straight to the lead from the off.
Coup De Pinceau – bidding to provide Paul Nicholls with a fourth win in the last six renewals of this race – was his nearest pursuer for much of the way, but Bailey’s charge had seen him off rounding the home turn and the further he went, the further he went clear.
Theclockisticking came through to beat Coup De Pinceau to the runner-up spot, but passed the post some 17 lengths behind the emphatic winner.
Bailey’s assistant Mat Nicholls said: “I’m not sure where we’ll go. He ran well one day right-handed at Hereford and he hung very badly so went the other way ever since.
“Kempton is not an ideal place to go right-handed, so I don’t think we’ll be going there. We could try a big, galloping track.
“I don’t know. Maybe the Towton at Wetherby. That’s left-handed obviously. It was soft ground at Newbury when he was second to Santini and that wasn’t a bad run.
“We’ll discuss Cheltenham. He’s improving and if you finished second to Santini in the RSA, you’d say you’d done well. We’ll see.”
Hot favourite Quel Destin came out on top in a thrilling finish to the bet365 Summit Juvenile Hurdle.
After making a promising British debut when second at Chepstow in October, the Paul Nicholls-trained youngster bolted up at Kempton before following up in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham last month.
He was the 8/11 favourite to claim another Grade 2 prize on Town Moor and complete his hat-trick, but odds-on backers were made to sweat.
Quel Destin was renewing rivalry with Cheltenham runner-up Cracker Factory, but it was in fact the latter’s stablemate Elysees – a winner at Warwick and Ludlow last month – who emerged as the main threat.
Elysees remained in a narrow lead after jumping the final flight, but Quel Destin eventually wore him down to secure victory by a neck in the hands of Harry Cobden. Cracker Factory passed the post a disappointing last of five runners.
Megan Nicholls, the trainer’s daughter, said: “He’s a tough little horse, hugely improved. There’s more to come, I think. Harry said he’d prefer slightly softer ground, but he’s so tough and he wants to win. He stuck his head right out to the line.
“I imagine the Triumph will be the long-term target. He’s won well at Cheltenham before, the track suits him and hopefully the ground will be softer.”
FREE 2019 WALLCHART & CHRISTMAS FOOD MAGAZINE IN THE IRISH FIELD THIS WEEKEND