A success for team Henderson at Cheltenham
Kyle Merrick on a successful two days at Cheltenham for team Henderson, and the horses which left an impression
There are reasons why Cheltenham is headquarters of National Hunt racing. The views, the landscape, the facilities but most importantly the quality and quantity of racing. The 2019 renewal of the International meeting was highly informative if you are looking ahead to March as well as enjoyable racing to witness over the two days.
Both days were a success for team Henderson with an impressive round of jumping from hurdling debutant Chantry House who coasted home to success and travelled superbly throughout. I think the name will be appearing more in the coming months.
The Lambourn maestro had a good meeting with Pipesmoker finishing third behind Chantry House as well as Pym following up his Ascot win in style and could be an interesting RSA contender. With that field only five runners, some may have strong views about the start with Rockpoint not playing ball by whipping around.
A big surprise from the six-year-old. Mister Fisher rocketed up the hill to collect another prize for Nicky Henderson despite making mistakes. This started a treble for Henderson on Saturday with Call Me Lord who battled hard to take the Grade two feature – The International hurdle as well as the last with Dame De Compagnie beating the biggest field of the two days with a bit in hand.
The connections of Repetitio will be relieved after successfully choosing which race to run him in as he took the two-mile class three handicap hurdle with a difficult battle with Oakley. I think both should be finding the winners enclosure at different venues throughout 2020 in handicaps if weights allow.
David Noonan though found a winning groove by following up 24 hours later aboard Warthog with perfect timing to take the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
Zara Hope walked home clear to win by 18 lengths in the mares chase on Friday. Another small trainer and jockey gaining a valuable prize and the Paddock pictures of the winning reaction was lovely to see. An early Christmas present for some.
Cheltenham locals gained more success with the two leaders in the Gloucestershire Trainers championship fighting it out. The Twiston-Davies team took Grade 3 honours with Cogry following up last year’s victory.
It was a cracking finish with Rock The Kasbah. Redford Road giving spectators a slight surprise when hanging close to the finish in the Bristol novices hurdle sponsored by Albert Bartlett. Fergal O’Brien also was celebrating again by taking the last on day one with Goodbye Dancer to keep his lead in the county’s championship for trainers.
From locals to international rivals. The French once again made the trip which proved worthwhile as they dominated the cross-country chase, the final in the Crystal Cup. Easysland kept his winning run by scooting clear in classy style. He jumped and stayed which led to a one-two for France, with Amazing Comedy second, ahead of Ireland with Out Sam and the British headed by the fourth, Chic Name.
Sussex travellers showed some class with Botox Has going one better than November’s visit by taking the Triumph trial in classy fashion by making all.
A typically competitive, high quality two days at Prestbury Park that delivered some enjoyable days in the jump calendar that is a starter for what should be a memorable Christmas in the Sport of Kings.