Raceday Report - 17th December 2018


17 December 2018

A cloudy, blustery day. The going was heavy, which caused the omission of the first hurdle in the home straight and both open ditches.

Big Picture (8/1) led throughout the 2m4f hurdle for conditional jockeys. Going much the best on the turn into the home straight, he responded well when asked to extend his lead there and finished full of running six lengths ahead of Urbanist. He showed nothing on two previous runs on heavy for trainer Johnny Farrelly, but clearly appreciated it. It was a second winner this month for Mitchell Bastyan, who is back in action again after a six month break.

There was a similar front-running display in the next race, a 2m maiden hurdle. Monsieur Lecoq (4/6 fav) had been tried in a Listed event at Auteuil last time and relished the drop in class, despite pulling hard early on. Lizzie Kelly had an armchair ride on the Jane Williams-trained four-year-old, coasting home seven lengths clear of Chambard, who was well clear of the rest.

Six were in contention entering the closing stages of the 2m5f novice chase, with the favourite, Cougar’s Gold, leading the way. However, Robbie Dunne had held up Venetia Williams’s Mixchievous (4/1) for a late run, and drove his mount ahead in the last ten yards to win by a nose.

A 2m4f novice hurdle went to Lamanver Pippin (7/1), who had been beaten 43 lengths a month ago on his first outing for Colin Tizzard. Today Harry Cobden kept him in second place for most of the race. Coming up the home straight the Pippin was one of four in line, and despite clouting the penultimate flight he was strong enough to take the lead approaching the last. He was clumsy there too, but recovered quickly to win, going away, by two lengths from Shaman Du Berlais.

Evan Williams scored a 1-2 in the main event, a Class 3 handicap hurdle over 2m. The Gipper (11/10 fav), back to form at Lingfield a week ago, led coming into the straight and galloped on remorselessly to an eight length success under Adam Wedge. Stablemate Radical Archie, who had set the pace for two thirds of the race, rallied late to snatch second place from Llantara.

Welsh trainers supplied six of the eight runners for the 3m1f chase, and three of them fought out the finish from the third last. Dai Rees’s Steel Native (13/8 fav), who bumped into a red hot one here last time, was going slightly better than the other pair and Tom Scudamore waited until after the last to nudge him into a distinct lead. He won by two lengths from Sutter’s Mill and Sideways.

Daryl Jacob set a steady pace on Harry Whittington’s Stick With Bill (5/2 fav) in the bumper and gradually increased the tempo from the end of the back straight. Only Little Red Lion could stick with him, and even he could not close the gap to less than two and a quarter lengths.

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