Tag Archive for: Fusil Raffles

Fusil Raffles prevails in eventful Charlie Hall

Fusil Raffles claimed victory in a dramatic renewal of the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

All the attention ahead of the Grade Two contest was on defending champion Cyrname, who was a fine winner last year before his season tailed off and he underwent wind surgery over the summer.

Sent off an 85-40 chance, Cyrname took up his usual prominent position through the early stages and was still in front until Harry Skelton decided to kick on aboard 2-1 favourite Shan Blue at the turn for home.

The second-season chaser quickly built up a healthy lead only to get the third-last all wrong and crash out.

That gave the rest of the field a second bite of the cherry and it was Fusil Raffles and Daryl Jacob who seized the advantage, jumping the penultimate fence in the lead.

He then cleared the last in fine style to secure a four-and-a-half-length success over Kitty’s Light with Clondaw Castle back in third.

Cyrname was pulled up before the last and Nicholls reported his charge to have suffered breathing issues again.

He said: “He choked again and once he choked, that was it. One minute he was going and the next he wasn’t.”

Dan Skelton was philosophical after Shan Blue fell with the race seemingly at his mercy.

“The horse is all right, Harry’s all right. Good jumpers, when they have a fall, they have a bad fall. It wasn’t very nice but he’s OK, he’d have hacked up,” he said.

“The fence is in the wrong spot, what can you do? It’s happened to Ruby Walsh. These things happen. I was delighted with him, we know he’s a very, very good horse.

“He’s in the Hennessy and he’ll have an entry in the King George. We’ve just got to see, but it was terribly frustrating.

“Everyone’s all right, it’s just racing. One minute you’re winning a two-mile race with Molly Ollys Wishes, the next minute that happens.

“You can’t dwell on it, the horse is OK, we know he’s a good horse. We’re missing a trophy today, but at least we’re not missing a horse.”

Fusil Raffles comes away from the last clear
Fusil Raffles comes away from the last clear (Tim Goode/PA)

Jacob was delighted with Fusil Raffles’ victory, but admitted he thought he was booked for second at best when Shan Blue went for home.

He said: “He (Shan Blue) quickened after the turn from home and I thought he’d gone unless he didn’t stay, so at that stage I rode to finish second.

“Unfortunately Harry’s horse fell three out and I can tell you it was a long way to the winning line.

“I’ve no doubt about him (Fusil Raffles), he gets the trip well but I need to teach him the discipline of coming back and relaxing under the bridle rather than going forwards in the bridle.

“(It was) unfortunate circumstances, turning in I thought the winner had flown unless he just didn’t stay, but turning in I thought second was in my grasp. I’m very proud of the horse, I think he will have learnt an awful lot from today’s experience.

“He’s used to attacking his fences, going forward over a shorter trip, whereas today the pace of the race was slightly slower. He got the hang of it a little bit towards the end of the race. He’s all heart, he digs deep for you when he has to.”

Raffles stakes Festival claim with gutsy Cheltenham success

Fusil Raffles took a step up in trip in his stride when showing an abundance of stamina to claim the Jockey Club Cheltenham And SW Syndicate Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

In a race which appeared to revolve around trainer Nicky Henderson’s other runner, last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle third Chantry House, it was his lesser-fancied stablemate who prevailed on his first start over an extended two and half miles.

Given a patient ride by Daryl Jacob, the 16-5 shot wore down leader Lieutenant Rocco on the climb to the line before scoring by three and three-quarter lengths, with 8-11 favourite Chantry House a further 10 lengths adrift in third.

Henderson said: “That’s a good performance giving them weight. I’ve been dying to go up to two and a half. We’ve been frightened to do it because of the ground, yet he has won despite it.

“He has won because he stays. The races kept falling quite nicely at two, that’s why we hadn’t stepped him up. It was too soft last time (when pulled up at Cheltenham last month), but that was on that really bad Saturday.

“It is on a different track today, but that was attritional on that Saturday when it rained after the first race. I had three proper good horses pull up and one won yesterday (Mister Fisher).”

The Seven Barrows handler will now work back from the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Festival in March, for which Fusil Raffles is 16-1 shot with both Paddy Power and Sky Bet.

He added: “As Daryl said, he has had a hard race today, but he has already had four races. You would imagine he would have one run before the Marsh.”

As for Chantry House, the reigning champion trainer will go back to the drawing board before making any plans.

He added: “Nico (de Boinville) just said he got stuck in the mud. They have said that is very hard work today. He said he was just flat in that and he couldn’t get away from his fences.”

Adagio resumed his progression after returning to winning ways in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle.

After surrendering his unbeaten record in a Grade Two at the track last time out, the David Pipe-trained three-year-old added to his debut win over hurdles at Warwick with a clear-cut success in the two-mile-one-furlong prize.

Travelling powerfully into contention, the 4-9 favourite sealed matters with a good jump at the last, quickly putting distance between himself and his rivals before crossing the line four and three-quarter lengths clear of runner-up Historic Heart.

Adagio (left) on his way to victory at Cheltenham
Adagio (left) on his way to victory at Cheltenham (Alan Crowhurst//PA)

Pipe said: “He was in at Doncaster, but we decided to come here. We rode him a bit differently today. He probably got to the front too soon last time and he was outstayed by Duffle Coat.

“This is a more galloping track. We just rode him with a little bit more restraint.

“He did it nicely. He was very professional.”

Adagio was cut from 25-1 into 14-1 by Sky Bet for the Triumph Hurdle, which could be a future target according to Pipe.

He added: “I expect they will all want to go for the Triumph, but he will have an entry in the Fred Winter. We will see what happens. We know he goes on this ground and on better ground, as he won on that first time out.”

Tom Scudamore notched up a notable milestone
Tom Scudamore notched up a notable milestone (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Victory for jockey Tom Scudamore saw him move above Noel Fehily to ninth on the list of most successful National Hunt riders.

Scudamore said: “It’s a great honour. It’s fantastic to ride the big winners and things, but when you look at that list to see where you are and being able to do it day in day out gives you an enormous amount of satisfaction.

Scudamore made it a double as Sky Pirate gained an overdue first win over fences with a stylish success in the Spreadex Handicap Chase.

Having finished second five times in his 10 previous chase starts, the Jonjo O’Neill-trained seven-year-old set the record straight when appearing to appreciate a drop down to the extended two miles.

Anchored close to the rear of the field for much of the race, the 4-1 shot made his challenge going over the last before cruising clear of favourite Ibleo up the run in to score by three and three-quarter lengths.

O’Neill said: “It was great. Tom gave him a lovely ride. We always kept feeling he was a bit of an unlucky horse, but we felt the trainer had the trip wrong.

Sky Pirate (yellow) gave Scudamore a double
Sky Pirate (yellow) gave Scudamore a double (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“It is great to have a winner for Martin (Tedham, owner), who is the sponsor of our yard and it couldn’t happen in a better place.

“We were just a little bit worried about the ground being a bit tacky for him, but that didn’t seem to bother him and everything went the right way. He has come good on the right day.

“The Grand Annual might be the race for him, but we will take it steady and go from there.”

Fusil Raffles makes victorious chasing bow at Uttoxeter

Fusil Raffles made a winning start to his new career over fences in the SSR Congratulates Phil Bell 55 Today Novices’ Chase at Uttoxeter.

A Grade One-winning juvenile hurdler, Fusil Raffles was last seen finishing well beaten in the Champion Hurdle, when he had his major market rival for this contest, Gumball, one place behind.

Fusil Raffles jumped well throughout as Gumball, despite some hairy leaps at the head of affairs, set a brisk tempo.

Quick Grabim, winner of the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle when trained by Willie Mullins, moved up menacingly down the back straight as Fusil Raffles began to look tapped for speed.

However, on the run between the second last and final fence, Fusil Raffles got a second wind and Daryl Jacob moved him upsides.

Another safe jump sealed the deal and the 5-6 favourite pulled four lengths clear of Quick Grabim. Betfair gave the winner a 25-1 quote for the Arkle in March.

Henderson said: “He jumped very well, but took a big blow turning in. They went very hard, which they are always going to do when Gumball is around!

“Gumball has beaten Verdana Blue on the Flat and is rated higher than Fusil over hurdles, so they were always going to go fast and I thought he was good.

“It’s possible he might want two and a half miles – it’s not that he’s slow, but he stays two miles very well. I was delighted with him really.

“He is out early for one of mine. We brought him in early with the intention of running him in that Listed Hurdle at Kempton in October, but then I realised he’d be ready long before then.

“We started schooling over fences and realised he enjoyed it. I don’t know where next, but he does jump well and that’s a good start. He was just ready to run and we had to go to war today – it was a nice starting point.

“He can only do one thing and that is improve for it.”

Regarding the rest of his string, Henderson added: “A lot came in earlier, but only because they went out earlier.

“They got on some really good grass in the spring and they are bigger than normal, they were doing too well. They are not forward, but you can’t afford to be – that’s the biggest danger.

“We’re ready to press on, but you can’t because there’s no ground and no races for them yet – but we are still only in September. We’ll have a few for Chepstow in October, normally we aren’t ready for that.”

When it was suggested Altior could start his season in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on November 15, Henderson said: “You could look at that, but then you’ve got the Tingle Creek (Sandown, December 5) as well.”