A good crowd flocked to Ffos Las for its first fixture for over a month, encouraged by warm hazy sunshine and a Food and Drink Festival of enticing local produce. The going was soft.
Although the 15-runner handicap hurdle over 2m4f looked quite competitive, Dai Rees’s Gone Platinum turned it into a procession. In the frame five times in 11 outings here, he was allowed to go off at 11/1. His jockey Lorcan Williams bided his time until the long run to the penultimate flight, when he cruised into the lead. He had to be driven out after the last to win by three and a quarter lengths from Sizing At Midnight, but didn’t have too hard a race.
Good Boy Bobby (4/9 fav) took his record to six wins out of eight by defying a double penalty in the 2m4f novice hurdle. Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies for his father Nigel, he made all the running and despite a sketchy jump at the final flight his only serious rival Quoi De Neuf was unable to muster a challenge. There was seven lengths between them at the line and the same distance back to Meteorite, who showed a bit of promise in third. It was Sam’s 100th winner of the season.
Tim Vaughan’s Chozen (4/1) was keen to lead all the way in the 2m chase and though he was ungainly over a few of the obstacles that didn’t stop him. Flight To Berlin disputed matters from the fourth last and the pair fought out a great battle on the run-in. At the line Chozen, partnered by Alan Johns, prevailed by a head.
In the 3m chase, Achille (8/1) scored for the third time this year. A typical Venetia Williams soft ground lover, the striking grey jumped the four fences up the straight alongside Ami Desbois, but not going as well as his opponent. Ami made a slight mistake at the last, where Charlie Deutsch got a great jump out of Achille, enabling him to snatch a slender lead. He kept on gamely, to hang on by a head.
The 3m hurdle went to the Kim Bailey-trained Newtide (7/2). David Bass hit the front on him approaching the second last and he drew right away from a fair field of handicappers to beat Iwilldoit by nine lengths. It was only his fifth run under National Hunt rules and, given his stamina and liking for soft ground, connections have the Welsh National as a possible target for December 2020!
Another 3m chase went to John Flint’s Lac Sacre (9/1), who had been pulled up in his latest two outings. This time Paddy Brennan was on board, and he kept him up near the head of the field. Certainly once he took the lead three out he was never in danger. Sutter’s Mill had led until then, with his own way of getting over the fences, and kept on well to be second, 12 lengths in arrears. The Boom Is Back was punted down from 10/1 to 11/4, heedless of his poor form, but made no show.
Before the bumper all eyes were on Prudhomme (7/4 fav), but he displayed none of the unruliness he had in his two earlier starts. Coming off a steady pace, Lizzie Kelly gradually asked him for more from three furlongs out, and with 300 yards to go he took over in front. Nick Williams’s charge went on to win by five lengths from the outsider Exelerator Express, who just touched off Tara West for the runner-up spot.