Francky Du Berlais pounces for victory in Uttoxeter feature

Francky Du Berlais snatched victory from the front-running Pistol Whipped in a pulsating finish to the feature Clarke Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter.

The Peter Bowen-trained eight-year-old was only in sixth place at the second-last fence – and was still a few lengths behind the leader at the final obstacle.

He was quickly away from it, however, and reduced the gap on Pistol Whipped to get his head in front where it mattered, winning by a nose in the hands of Bowen’s son, Sean.

Pistol Whipped looked to have the opposition cooked as he put in a superb round of jumping for Nico de Boinville and victory looked assured for Nicky Henderson’s charge until Francky De Berlais came from the clouds to collar him on the line.

Captain Tommy was four and a half lengths away in third place, with Pink Eyed Pedro fourth.

The winning trainer said: “He did it well, but he only just got there.

“He’s improving with a bit of age. He shouldn’t go up too much in the weights for that.

“I’d say he’d go for the Summer Plate at Market Rasen, I imagine.”

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