Tag Archive for: rehearsal chase

Aye gets it Right in Rehearsal Chase

Aye Right claimed the big-race victory he has long promised in a thrilling renewal of the Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle.

One of just a handful of horses trained by Harriet Graham, who is also clerk of the course at Hamilton, the eight-year-old has flown the flag admirably for his small yard over the years.

As well as winning on seven previous occasions, Aye Right was last season placed in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury and at the Cheltenham Festival, so few will begrudge him his day in the sun – or snow, as was the case at Gosforth Park.

Down the field over an inadequate trip at Kelso on his return to action at Kelso last month, the eight-year-old appeared far more at home stepping back up in distance.

Always to the fore in the hands of Callum Bewley, 5-1 chance Aye Right fenced fluently to ensure many of his rivals were under pressure a long way from home.

After seemingly mastering 9-2 market leader Good Boy Bobby, a final fence error gave favourite backers renewed hope, but Graham’s pride and joy clung on by a diminishing head.

Graham said: “It wasn’t the easiest trip to get here. We left early and we needed all the time we had.

Aye Right leads the way at Newcastle
Aye Right leads the way at Newcastle (Tim Goode/PA)

“It was an excellent result in a snowstorm, but who cares?

“He deserved to be in front this time, he really did. Callum rode him brilliantly and thanks to the owners and everybody involved – it’s just brilliant. I’m really made up.”

Paddy Power make Aye Right a 50-1 shot for the Grand National in the spring, but Graham is in no rush to decide whether he will line up for the Aintree spectacular.

“We need to discuss it with the owners,” she added.

“We’ve got the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on our radar – he was second in that last season. He’ll possibly go there, but let’s see how he is.”

Thomson relies on Dollar and Master for second Rehearsal success

Sandy Thomson fires a twin assault in his bid for back-to-back victories in the Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on Saturday.

The Berwickshire-based trainer saddled popular veteran Yorkhill to claim a surprise victory in the Listed contest 12 months ago and is this year represented by a pair of course and distance winners.

The market leader is The Ferry Master, who having rounded off last season by finishing fourth in the Scottish Grand National, made a promising return when third at Musselburgh earlier this month.

His stablemate Dingo Dollar filled the runner-up spot when favourite for the Scottish Grand National and is expected to improve from his comeback fourth at Kelso.

Thomson said: “It was a very competitive race that Dingo Dollar ran in at Kelso and it probably wasn’t an ideal preparation for The Ferry Master at Musselburgh, but it was the only place to go.

“We were delighted with both runs. Dingo Dollar is in great form, he’s run well in a couple of Ladbrokes Trophys in the past and he’s in on a nice mark.

“If you’re going to be realistic, you hope The Ferry Master is a progressive, young horse. Whether he quite stayed in the Scottish National, we’re not sure.

“I hope they’ll both run nice races on Saturday.”

The weights are headed by Ann Hamilton’s Nuts Well, who steps up to three miles for the first time after finishing fifth when defending his crown in the two-and-a-half-mile Old Roan Chase at Aintree.

Next on the list is the Harriet Graham-trained Aye Right, who blew away a few cobwebs when fifth behind Nuts Well at Kelso last month.

“Last year it was incredibly exciting to go to Newbury (finished second in Ladbrokes Trophy). We made a decision fairly early on that we won’t going there this year – it seems a very strong renewal of the race,” Graham told Sky Sports Racing.

“Newcastle is 45 minutes away, the Rehearsal Chase is also a competitive race and we decided to go local rather than go all the way to Newbury to take on the Irish.

“He so deserves to win a race. He’s come on immensely for that run (at Kelso) and we’ve also taken him to Carlisle for a racecourse gallop.

“He’s been working really well at home and schooled really well – it’s all systems go.”

Dan Skelton is keen on the chances of Spiritofthegames, who was only beaten seven lengths in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham a fortnight ago.

He said: “I’m starting to fancy him for this race. In the Paddy Power, he didn’t quite have the legs for two and a half miles.

“He’s a bit older, he’s been to all those two-and-a-half-mile dances and we’re now going to go to all the three-mile dances.

“Hopefully we can win one – he deserves to.

“I can see him going really well at Newcastle on decent ground.”

Yorkhill sparkles again with shock Rehearsal Chase success

Multiple Grade One-winner Yorkhill rolled back the years and caused a 66-1 shock in the Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle.

A top-class performer in his days with Willie Mullins, for whom he won twice at the Cheltenham Festival, he badly lost his way in recent seasons and when previous owner Graham Wylie stepped away from the game, his friends David Armstrong and golfer Lee Westwood sent him to Sandy Thomson to see if any ability remained.

There was not much encouragement to be taken from his first run in new colours at Aintree, but set alight by Ryan Mania at the head of affairs, he looked to be back in love with the game, putting in some prodigious leaps.

Whatmore, Pym and Armstrong’s other runner Cool Mix closed to challenge, but Yorkhill dug deep to beat Whatmore by a length and three-quarters.

Thomson said: “Dave said to Ryan to go out and make it – it was his call and he loved it.

“We were really happy with him coming into the race. He had an away day on Thursday and loved it.

“Harry The Viking (ex-Paul Nicholls, Borders National winner) was the model to go against to freshen these old horses up, you just fiddle away with them to get them right.

“He did a nice gallop at Carlisle two weeks ago and today he was brilliant. At 10 he’s just a youngster!”

Yorkhill was introduced into the Grand National betting at 50-1 by Betfair, while Thomson and Mania were also on the mark with The Ferry Master (6-1) in the three-mile novices’ handicap chase.

Ella Pickard registered the biggest winner of her career to date when Getaround made all the running in the Newcastle Flooring “The French Furze” Novices’ Hurdle.

Having finished fourth in the Persian War at Chepstow behind McFabulous on his penultimate run, Getaround found himself able to dominate here.

Favourite Ask A Honey Bee made a late bid for glory, but Bryan Carver had just enough up his sleeve to hold on by a head on the 10-1 chance.

“We always thought he wanted better ground,” said Pickard.

“It was a really good ride from Bryan, who has ridden him all the way through.

“We’ll look to step back up class again now, this was one of the last chances for him to run as a novice, so it was important to get more experience into him.

“It took seven hours to get here, but you’ve got to go where the races are.

“We’ve got about 15 horses in, but this would be the biggest winner.”

James Ewart’s Ascot De Bruyere notched up a fourth win at Gosforth Park with a pillar-to-post success in the D J Jeffreys Racing Handicap Chase.

Running for the first time since a wind operation, champion jockey Brian Hughes got him jumping elaborately out in front and he never looked like being caught.

Ewart said: “He’s a lovely horse and everyone knows he’s a Newcastle specialist and that’s his fourth win here now.

“His best performance was actually over two and a half miles, so I said to Brian to make sure he made plenty of use of him today as I was actually worried the ground might be too good.

“Last year he had lots of little issues and it was the first season we’ve had him we didn’t win a race with him.”

Ewart later doubled up with the Rachael McDonald-ridden Fostered Phil (4-1)

Alan King tends to find a smart juvenile or two each year and Son Of Red made a winning transition from the Flat in the opening Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group Introductory Juvenile Hurdle.

Rated 66 on the Flat, he needed every yard of the trip to reel in the front-running State Crown, who had the benefit of experience.

Winning rider Daryl Jacob said: “That was a nice performance, he ground it out for me. He’s a lovely jumper, as you get from Alan King, and I was very impressed. That was his first run over hurdles and, please god, he’ll keep improving.”