Posts

Jacob is centre stage again as Zambella completes Listed hat-trick

Daryl Jacob made his fleeting visit to Leicester a triumphant one aboard Zambella, who maintained her unbeaten record over fences with a tenacious success in the Pertemps Network Mares’ Chase.

After riding the first five-timer of his career at Wincanton on Saturday, Grand National-winning jockey Jacob took centre stage once again with victory in the Listed feature on the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained six-year-old.

The 8-13 favourite dug deep after the last to defeat Cut The Mustard by two and a half lengths and add to her previous Listed victories this season at Bangor and Warwick.

Jacob said: “She is very game. She is tough, and three from three over fences, and is getting better.

“Two and a half is a good trip for her, but two miles on heavy ground is just as good. You’ve just got to find your feet a bit and find nice opportunities.

“She has won three Listed chases now, and there was no hiding place out there today.

“The ear plugs just keep her relaxed, because when she came over she was very keen and an excitable filly, but they seem to be working at the moment.”

Your first 30 days for just £1

Fontaine Collonges, left, on the way to completing trebles for Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch in the Pertemps Network Novices’ Hurdle (Mike Egerton/PA Images)
Fontaine Collonges (left) on the way to completing trebles for Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch in the Pertemps Network Novices’ Hurdle (Mike Egerton/PA Images)

Trainer Venetia Williams and jockey Charlie Deutsch took the plaudits with a near 44-1 treble, completed by the victory of Fontaine Collonges in the Pertemps Network Novices’ Hurdle, which the 5-6 favourite landed by a neck.

Williams said: “I must admit a couple of days ago, after declarations, I thought she was our strongest chance of the day.

“I was going to step her up in trip – but with testing conditions here and that long uphill finish, I thought it might compensate a bit.

“Half way up the run-in, I was cursing myself for not stepping up in trip – but bless her, she got back up.”

Jack Valentine (5-2) got the ball rolling for Williams and Deutsch, making his debut over fences a winning one by four lengths in the Pertemps Network Novices’ Handicap Chase.

Williams said: “We thought we still had unfinished business over hurdles, so we kind of delayed chasing a little bit, but clearly this is the way forward.

“I know Charlie has ridden one or two winners lately where people have said it is perfectly judged – but in those cases it has been the horses’ inability to go quicker earlier. In this case, though, it was very well judged.

The Crooner (6-1) formed the middle leg of the haul, prevailing by three-quarters of a length in the Pertemps Network Handicap Chase to make it two wins from as many starts at the track.

Williams said: “He had been a little bit disappointing, and I was actually scratching my head a bit.

“He needed every yard to get there. This is the only place he has won at, because he won a hurdle here last season.”

Jonjo O’Neill junior carried the silks his father, and namesake, wore to glory in the 1980 Champion Hurdle aboard Sea Pigeon – steering When You’re Ready to glory by a head in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.

O’Neill junior said: “The silks were great for dad, and I used them for pony racing, and it is nice to be back in them. They’ve been in the family a good while.

On the 3-1 shot trained by his dad, he added: “He ran over two and a half the last day – and he didn’t run too badly – but two miles in this ground up the hill at Leicester, we thought wouldn’t be too bad for him.

“All mine did was stay, and I was hoping the line was far enough away so he could get back up – luckily we just got back up.”

Zambella completes Listed double with game Warwick effort

Daryl Jacob praised the attitude of Zambella, who maintained her unbeaten record over fences with a front-running success in the feature Wigley Group Lady Godiva Mares’ Novices’ Chase at Warwick.

Having made a winning chasing debut in a Listed contest at Bangor last time out, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained five-year-old followed up at the same level on her first start over two and a half miles.

Although jumping out to the right on occasion, the 9-4 favourite rallied gamely before finding plenty for pressure to defeat Midnightreferendum by three and three-quarter lengths.

Jacob said: “Zambella is a good jumper, but just occasionally lacks a bit of concentration at times in her races.

“It was good performance stepping up in trip and giving weight away, as it is not easy as there were some good mares in the race.

“I thought she ground it out nicely up the home straight.

“She’s getting a bit older and wiser – hopefully she’ll be a nice mare who we can place in the right races through the season and pick up some nice prize money.

Hamilton Dici and Chester Williams on their way to winning the Wigley Group Merry Christmas Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (Tim Goode/PA)
Hamilton Dici and Chester Williams on their way to winning the Wigley Group Merry Christmas Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (Tim Goode/PA)
Your first 30 days for just £1

Former jockey, and new mum, Lizzie Kelly celebrated her first winner since quitting the saddle in July after Hamilton Dici landed the Wigley Group Merry Christmas Juvenile Hurdle.

The Jane Williams-trained four-year-old, sporting the silks of Kelly and her husband Ed Partridge’s Valentine Bloodstock Racing outfit, made all to deny Ambassador by a head.

Chester Williams, rider, said of the 11-2 winner: “It was a learning experience for him, but he did it well and is a first winner for Lizzie and Ed’s Valentine Bloodstock

“I’m really pleased for them as it is just the sort of horse you need to get started.

“He was still green enough there, but he picked up very well when the other horse came to him and that helped him after the last.”

Jay Bee Why left trainer Alan King pleasantly surprised after pulling clear in stylish fashion to claim the Wigley Group Support Our SMEs Maiden Hurdle by nine and a half lengths.

King said: “It is a bit of a surprise because I only thought he was just ready. I thought he was very good last season, but he completely boiled over before and during the bumper at Newbury.

“We tidied up his wind this season and I put a hood on him in the preliminaries today and he was good.

“I just hoped he would run a nice race and run properly today, but he looked quite useful.”

King d'Argent on his way to making a triumphant debut over fences at Warwick (Tim Goode/PA)
King d’Argent on his way to making a triumphant debut over fences at Warwick (Tim Goode/PA)

Dan Skelton has introduced a number of useful recruits to fences this season, and King d’Argent looked another judged on his three-length success in the Wigley Building & Development Novices’ Handicap Chase.

Skelton said of the 11-4 favourite: “To be fair, he was quite a good juvenile and he was fourth in the Fred Winter two years ago.

“He has blossomed since he started schooling over fences and I’m just delighted with the way he has attacked them and he really liked that.

“How high we can go, I don’t know, but that is a good start.”

Lorcan Murtagh partnered his first winner since joining forces with trainer Harry Fry after Might I (16-1) struck gold by a length and a quarter in the Wigley Group Daimler Powerhouse Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

The winning rider, who was previously based with Donald McCain, said: “He gave me a lovely feel. I got there a mile too soon, but there was nothing taking me into the race.

“I’ve been with Harry for two months now and that is my first winner for him, so it is nice to get that monkey off my back.”

Victory for Might I completed an across-the-card double for Fry, who was also on the mark at Taunton with Boothill.