Tag Archive for: Crebilly

O’Neill team backing Crebilly to be a Plate smasher

Hopes are high in the Jonjo O’Neill camp that Crebilly can provide the Jackdaws Castle yard with a first Cheltenham Festival winner since Sky Pirate in 2021.

O’Neill has trained 27 winners at the showpiece meeting in all and sits fifth on the list of current trainers bidding for more.

There was a time that O’Neill rarely left empty handed and as recently as 2014 he enjoyed a treble when Taquin Du Seuil, More Of That and Holywell were all victorious.

Crebilly is ante-post favourite for the TrustATrader Plate Handicap Chase having comfortably accounted for Tahmuras last time out, while he gained valuable Cheltenham experience with two runs at Prestbury Park earlier in the season. In the first of those he fell two out when upsides Ginny’s Destiny, who is a strong fancy for the Grade One Turners Novices’ Chase.

“We were very happy with the way he was running first time out this season but unfortunately he fell,” said O’Neill’s son and assistant, AJ.

“It wasn’t a reflection on his jumping, he’d actually jumped very well but he just crumpled on landing really.

“He wasn’t quite as fluent the next day (fourth) with his jumping, but when he won the other day he showed a bit more like we were hoping to see first and second time.

“Hopefully he’ll go well in the Plate and we’re happy with him.”

Springwell Bay looks to have a solid chance in the Pertemps
Springwell Bay looks to have a solid chance in the Pertemps (Nigel French/PA)

Another live chance for the yard is Springwell Bay in the Pertemps Final, having qualified when second at Musselburgh last time out.

“We were hoping for an indication of which way to go with him when he ran at Cheltenham when heavy ground and top-weight probably just got the better of him,” said O’Neill.

“We felt if he was good enough for the Stayers’ Hurdle he’d have been good enough to take on those conditions.

“Since stepping him up in trip he hasn’t won, but he was second the last day and probably showed a bit more of what we were looking for and it showed he probably does get the trip. Hopefully it doesn’t get too testing.”

Johnnywho (left) found the trip too sharp last time out
Johnnywho (left) found the trip too sharp last time out (David Davies/PA)

Johnnywho has run two solid races in graded company since winning first time out over hurdles and holds each-way claims in the Albert Bartlett.

“Johnnywho stayed very well at Newbury, he hit a bit of a flat spot before staying on strongly in the Challow,” said O’Neill.

“We hoped he’d run well at Cheltenham the last day but he got a bit outpaced over that trip (fourth to Gidleigh Park) so stepping him up in trip looked the logical thing to do.

“He’s yet to prove it, but we were very happy as the ground was very testing at Newbury. Off the back of that we’d be hopeful.”

Absolute shock as Steel springs 200-1 Exeter surprise

Tom Lacey’s Absolute Steel caused a 200-1 upset at Exeter in the Trustatrader Apply Today British Studs EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle and dented the previously unbeaten record of Lowry’s Bar in the process.

Stan Sheppard set out to make all on the five-year-old, who was tailed off at a similar price on his hurdling debut at Chepstow.

With Lowry’s Bar looking for a fifth straight success as a long odds-on favourite, it looked a matter of when, rather than if he would reel in the long-time leader, but in testing conditions, he was making very heavy weather of it.

Absolute Steel showed the odd quirk or two at his hurdles but clearly possesses an engine, as when the favourite did get on terms after the last, he was just idling before he picked up again to win by a length and a half.

“I didn’t think he was as bad as his last run at Chepstow, his first over hurdles, but I was actually relatively happy with his first run in his bumper at Market Rasen,” Sheppard told Racing TV.

“I know he finished last (of five) but he wasn’t beaten overly far, we didn’t go fast and he just stayed going at the same speed.

“I’d say today, the favourite might have underperformed, but while I’m surprised, I’m not that surprised.

“He had a good look at the first three hurdles in the home straight but running to the last, I was thinking if the favourite comes by me within five strides of the line, I might not get back by him – but when he came at me, he picked up well again.”

Only three went to post in the Trustatrader Approved And Reviewed Trades People Novices’ Chase but punters who stuck to the old mantra of backing the outsider were rewarded when Crebilly came with a late run.

Crebilly came from last to first
Crebilly came from last to first (Steven Paston/PA)

The betting suggested it would be tight between Paul Nicholls’ Grade One-winning novice hurdler Tahmuras and Kim Bailey’s Trelawne, fitted with cheekpieces after his wayward second at Wetherby in the Grade Two Towton.

It was those two who were to the fore throughout, with Jonjo O’Neill jnr happy to take a lead, intent on getting his mount jumping better after an error-strewn display at Cheltenham last time out.

Trelawne was first off the bridle but kept on responding to David Bass, but Tahmuras initially looked to have done enough when jumping into a clear lead at the last, only to hang to his left.

That gave Crebilly the opportunity to come with a run and Jonjo O’Neill’s charge obliged at 5-2.

The winning rider said: “A clear round was what we were hoping for today. He was unfortunate at Cheltenham in November (fell) and he didn’t jump well back there last time out.

“It probably knocked his confidence a little bit, so a three-runner race on heavy ground, you couldn’t ask for any more.

“It was quite hard work and they maybe got a bit tired in front, so the race might have fallen apart after the last, but it was a nice race to win.”

Nicholls introduced a nice prospect in the Trustatrader Open Maiden National Hunt Flat Race with smooth scorer Teeshan.

The five-year-old won his sole point to point in Ireland by 41 lengths and made an impressive debut under Rules in the pink and blue colours of Johnny de la Hey.

Harry Cobden was always sitting comfortably on the 10-11 favourite and only had to keep him focussed to prevail by seven lengths.

Teeshan was cut to 6-1 from 14-1 for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham by Betfair and helped Cobden to draw level with Sean Bowen in the title race on 121 winners for the season.