Pic D’orhy puts up smart effort for Nicholls and Cobden

Pic D’orhy shrugged off a last-time-out fall to put up an immaculate display of jumping in the Howden Noel Novices’ Chase at Ascot.

Paul Nicholls’ six-year-old, who won the Betfair Hurdle in 2020, looked on course to win at Newbury last time out before making a crashing exit.

There was no sign of any hesitancy at any of the fences, though, as Harry Cobden guided him to an impressive success.

Having taken up the running before the turn for home as Gladiateur Allen made one too many mistakes and dropped away, the 5-4 favourite only had Faivoir and Up The Straight for company.

Without coming off the bridle, Pic D’orhy pulled effortlessly clear to land the Group Two event for Nicholls for the fourth time since 2014.

Paddy Power trimmed the winner to 20-1 from 25s for the Turners Novices’ Chase in March.

Nicholls: “He has been a bit frustrating. He has a hell of an engine. He was very good today. He just tipped in at a few, he is beginning to learn the game a little bit and he does tend to take one on a little bit – and when you are running downhill and he is a bit free, it can be problematic.

Pic D’orhy looks to have a big future
Pic D’orhy looks to have a big future (Steven Paston/PA)

“That was his best round of jumping. He was fourth in this race last year and fell in the race before that against Chantry House, but who knows what would have happened that day? Then the other day at Newbury, he would have won had he had not fallen.

“He will be grand in the spring for those two-and-a-half-mile, two-mile-six-furlong novice chases. The Scilly Isles, the Pendil. He might not go to Cheltenham and then we’ll go to Aintree. Those sort of races would suit him well.

“He is a bit bolshy and ignorant. He has a great engine and is a proper horse. Once he gets that jumping rock solid, he will win some really nice races. He jumped the last two absolutely beautifully.”

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