Rac­ing Wetherby, As­cot, Down Royal and Breed­ers’ Cup

With the favourites out of the frame, two sta­ble­mates bat­tle it out for a one-two to give their Glouces­ter­shire trainer a fifth Char­lie Hall tri­umph

Horse & Hound - - Contents - By SUE MONTGOMERY

THE stars were sup­posed to shine at Wetherby (4 Novem­ber), but it was the sun that daz­zled in­stead. In the Char­lie Hall Chase, nei­ther Coney­gree — hero of the Gold Cup in 2015 — nor Cue Card, win­ner of nine Grade One races, com­pleted the course, with the bright, low sun on the back straight to blame.

Coney­gree rather un­nerved him­self as he guessed at the first open ditch and took off far too early, hurt him­self when he landed steeply at the next and, clearly un­com­fort­able, was soon pulled

up by Nico de Boinville. A cir­cuit later, Cue Card ap­peared sim­ply not to see the fence be­fore the turn for home, breasted it and turned over — just as Paddy Bren­nan had moved him into con­tention.

Hap­pily, both horses will be back to fight an­other day. How­ever, Coney­gree, who suf­fered an over-reach, will miss the

Bet­fair Chase at Hay­dock later this month.

With the two main fan­cies out of the game, third-favourite

Bris­tol De Mai pre­vailed, giv­ing Nigel Twis­ton-Davies a onetwo as he beat his sta­ble­mate Blak­lion in a tight fin­ish. It was a record fifth win in the Grade Two three-miler — the first stop on the do­mes­tic pro­gramme for Gold Cup con­tenders — for the Glouces­ter­shire trainer, af­ter Tip­ping Tim, Young Hus­tler and two from Ol­lie Magern.


NOT­WITH­STAND­ING the mis­for­tunes of Coney­gree and

Cue Card, Bris­tol De Mai is a prop­erly tal­ented young chaser. The six-year-old went to the front early on the se­cond cir­cuit and by the last his only chal­lenger was Blak­lion, this year’s Grand Na­tional fourth. Both horses showed an ex­cel­lent at­ti­tude as they bat­tled up the run-in, but Bris­tol De Mai — who was con­ced­ing 6lb to his tough lit­tle sta­ble­mate — was just the classier, by half a length, with 23 lengths back to Definitly Red.

“He was a bit fresh early doors,” said win­ning jockey Daryl Ja­cob. “So I just let him stride along and that prob­a­bly sorted him out.”

The next tar­get for Bris­tol De Mai, owned by fi­nance busi­ness­men Si­mon Mu­nir and Isaac Souede, will be the Bet­fair Chase, where he is likely to meet Cue Card again.

“He’s not seven yet, so he should come into his own this sea­son,” added Nigel Twis­tonDavies. “He’s a re­ally nice horse and to give weight and a beat­ing to Blak­lion is very de­cent form.”

Half an hour ear­lier, Mu­nir and Souede’s French-trained Alex De Larredya had taken a Grade One hur­dle prize at Au­teuil, but not ev­ery­thing went en­tirely to plan for them and Twis­ton-Davies, as their well-fan­cied Whole­stone had to give best to Colin’s Sis­ter in the other Grade Two at Wetherby, the West York­shire Hur­dle.

The mare, trained by H&H colum­nist Fer­gal O’Brien, and home-bred by Caro­line Beres­fordWylie, had too much fire­power for both Whole­stone and the other joint-favourite, last year’s Stay­ers’ Hur­dle run­ner-up Lil Rock­er­feller, scoot­ing away un­der Paddy Bren­nan over the last two hur­dles to score by two lengths and win her fifth race in six out­ings.

‘He should come into his own this sea­son’


Bris­tol De Mai beats sta­ble­mate Blak­lion to land the Char­lie Hall Chase, af­ter the two favourites failed to com­plete

Colin’s Sis­ter, win­ner of the Grade Two hur­dle un­der Paddy Bren­nan

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