Left proves so right for classy Cyr
CYRNAME cruised to an impressive bet365 Charlie Hall Chase victory — and opened the door to a Cheltenham Gold Cup challenge.
The ex-French eight-year-old’s ascent to the top of the British steeplechasing ranks had been achieved on right-handed racecourses — and at distances short of three miles.
But Cyrname (below) proved his ability to produce his best racing anticlockwise with a two-length defeat of Vinndication that erased the memory of his 21-length humbling by stablemate Clan Des Obeaux in the King George VI Chase over three miles at Kempton last Christmas.
“Class is permanent, isn’t it?” purred Cyrname’s trainer Paul
Nicholls, capturing the Grade 2 test for the fourth time. “I wasn’t worried about going left-handed — he’s a different horse now.
“To see him jump like that and travel like that. It just shows he’s grown up.”
Winning jockey Harry Cobden explained: “He’s getting older and wiser, he’s more relaxed now.
“We had a lot of doubters today, but he was as straight as a die. He went everywhere I wanted him to go, and I’m very pleased it’s come together.”
Cobden must now make a Boxing Day choice between Cyrname, a 5-1 shot with Ladbrokes, and dual King George hero Clan Des Obeaux, who heads the firm’s ante-post betting at 3-1.
“Harry will have another headache!” added Nicholls. “I’d put a line through last year’s King George. He wasn’t right when he ran there last year.
“It opens a lot of doors — he would definitely go round Cheltenham, wouldn’t he?”
Ladbrokes make Cyrname a 16-1 shot for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup over three miles, two furlongs and 70 yards next March, and Nicholls went on: “Horses who win this race win Gold Cups and I don’t see any reason why he won’t get that trip.”
The Storyteller and Keith Donoghue got the better of a stirring duel with Chris’s Dream to lift the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal.
The nine-year-old’s previous top-level triumph had come in bizarre circumstances at the 2018 Punchestown Festival.
The Storyteller was booked for third place when the race leader, and subsequent two-time Cheltenham
Gold Cup victor, Al Boum Photo was inexplicably steered round the final fence by Paul Townend, taking the challenging Finian’s Oscar with him.
“He’s a horse of a lifetime and has always been a brilliant horse,” said trainer Gordon Elliott.