Elite jumps see Lon­don cap­i­talise on switch from Flat

Six-year-old se­cures Win­can­ton hur­dles suc­cess as

Sunday Sun - - Racing -

CESAREWITCH run­ner-up Lon­don Prize went one bet­ter in the Uni­bet Elite Hur­dle at Win­can­ton.

The Ian Wil­liams-trained six-year-old won the Im­pe­rial Cup at Sandown in the spring, since which he has claimed Flat races at Good­wood and New­cas­tle be­fore find­ing only hand­i­cap blot With­hold too strong at New­mar­ket last month.

He was a 4-1 shot re­vert­ing to the jump­ing game and af­ter trav­el­ling well in the hands of Tom O’Brien, took over the run­ning from 5-2 favourite Lough Derg Spirit round­ing the home turn.

Fly­ing Tiger moved omi­nously into his slip­stream, but wilted when asked for max­i­mum ef­fort and Lon­don Prize gal­loped all the way to the line to take the Grade Two prize by three lengths.

Lough Derg Spirit ral­lied to beat Fly­ing Tiger to the run­ner-up spot.

Speak­ing af­ter com­plet­ing a no­table across-the-card dou­ble with Saunter in the Novem­ber Hand­i­cap at Don­caster, Wil­liams said: “I thought Lon­don Prize was tremen­dous. I thought he was up against it, par­tic­u­larly over the two miles at Win­can­ton, but Tom has given him a great ride.

“Po­ten­tially he was well-hand­i­capped on his Flat form, but I won­dered if he would have the toe round there.”

The trainer raised the pos­si­bil­ity of Lon­don Prize mak­ing a swift re­turn at Chel­tenham next Sun­day.

He added: “He’ll po­ten­tially run in the Great­wood Hur­dle. We orig­i­nally went to Win­can­ton be­cause the own­ers weren’t avail­able on Great­wood day, but it de­pends on what the hand­i­cap­per does and if he’s buck­ing and squeal­ing.”

Jeremy Scott’s sta­ble stal­wart Melodic Ren­dezvous won the Elite Hur­dle in 2013, but trailed home last of seven run­ners this time and was im­me­di­ately re­tired by his trainer.

Bry­ony Frost claimed the big­gest vic­tory of her pro­fes­sional rid­ing ca­reer Bry­ony Frost rid­ing Present Man (L) clear the last to win The Badger Ales Trophy af­ter steer­ing the Paul Ni­cholls-trained Present Man to a nar­row suc­cess in a thrilling re­newal of the Badger Ales Trophy.

Af­ter a gru­elling three-mile-one-fur­long test, there were only two run­ners in with a shot with a cou­ple of fences to jump, with Frost on Present Man go­ing head to head with Leighton Aspell on Fi­nal Nudge.

Aspell looked as though he might just have stolen the ad­van­tage af­ter the last, but Present Man, who is owned by the race spon­sor, kept find­ing on the run to the line to win by a head.

The­atre Guide was eight lengths back in third with South­field The­atre fourth.

Frost told ITV Rac­ing: “He jumped and trav­elled – this is his Gold Cup. It’s their (own­ers) Gold Cup and they said to me I could ride him, I rode him at Kemp­ton (last time out) and it’s bril­liant to have pulled it off for them.

“He’s a brave horse. He has the heart of a lion and the braver you are, the braver he is as he an­swers ev­ery ques­tion.”

Ni­cholls added: “I was wor­ried about the ground, but I must say I’ve never seen Tom O’Brien rid­ing Lon­don Prize clear him look bet­ter. I knew he’d go in the ground, but it was whether he stayed in the ground.

“He’s a great ex­am­ple of Rome not be­ing built in a day. He’s taken three years to get where he is

“It was a peach of a ride and it’s great for the own­ers.”

Ni­cholls was com­plet­ing a big-race dou­ble on the card hav­ing ear­lier landed the John Ro­mans Park Homes “Ris­ing Stars” Novices’ Chase with Mo­dus.

The JP McManus-owned chest­nut was the 4-6 favourite to fol­low up his re­cent chas­ing de­but suc­cess at Ban­gor and read­ily pulled nine lengths clear of Kalon­dra in the hands of Sam Twis­tonDavies, with the front-run­ning Val­halla al­ready tailed off when fall­ing at the fi­nal fence.

Twis­ton-Davies said: “This fel­low is very smart and he kept on nicely. He picked up well in the straight and he’s come home in front.

“At the end of the day, it was only a three-run­ner novice chase, if a com­pet­i­tive one, and there’s big­ger tests in front of him.

“He jumped well to­day and hope­fully he can keep pro­gress­ing and get slicker over his fences.”

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