Francky Du Berlais retains Summer Plate title

Francky Du Berlais became to first horse ever to retain Market Rasen’s Unibet Summer Plate Handicap Chase when providing trainer Peter Bowen with an eighth success in the race.

The nine-year-old was an easy winner of the contest last season under Bowen’s son James, for whom the victory was a career highlight at the time.

Back in Lincolnshire again after a pair of good runs in Uttoxeter staying chases, the bay was the 5-1 favourite for the Grade Three race.

Jumping well when ridden by James Bowen again, Francky Du Berlais picked his way through the field to reel in Jonjo O’Neill’s La Domaniale and triumph by a neck.

“He’s had a good prep for it, no hitches along the way. He likes a strong-run race and that just suited him ideally,” said Peter Bowen.

“He won a three-miler about a month ago, he was always going to get the trip well. Three-mile-two stretched his stamina a bit, but that’s the sort of trip that’s ideal for him.

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Of his superb record in the race, the trainer added: “It’s lucky for us, that’s all I know! That’s the eighth time now.

“You can’t put your finger on why, it’s like the Topham. He jumps well and he jumped particularly well today.

“He’ll probably have a little break now, have a little spin over hurdles and then go for the Sefton.

“He loves Aintree and jumps well round there, he deserves a little holiday now.”

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