1st (2) Albertas Run 4-1 Fav
Tony McCoy notched his first winner since coming back from a serious back injury when Albertas Run landed the Royal & SunAlliance Chase for trainer Jonjo O’Neill. The winner is owned by Trevor Hemmings, who was completing a quick double following Old Benny’s victory 35 minutes earlier.
Despite the satisfaction of victory, McCoy was self-critical at having led two fences out, and said: “I should have been a bit cooler. He idled when I won on him here in December, and I should have waited a bit longer today, but when a horse is going so well you don’t want to keep disappointing them.
“I’m delighted for Jonjo - he gets some criticism, but he
always comes up with winners at the Cheltenham Festival.”
McCoy’s wife, Chanelle, said: “This will mean the world to Tony. He’s worked so hard to get fit again, and Tuesday was disappointing when he was beaten [on Binocular] by Captain Cee Bee, but this is great. I’m so proud of him.”
Trevor Hemmings said wryly: “It could get better, but we haven’t got a runner in the next! It’s a lovely feeling and everybody is so nice about it. And of course it’s special to see Tony ride a winner.”
O’Neill said: “It’s marvellous to get a winner on the board. The horse jumped great and travelled well so it was always looking good. There was plenty in the tank coming down the hill, and when Tony looked between his legs I thought there must be a little bit up his sleeve, so I was happy on that.
“The horse will probably go to Liverpool now - he’s in the Irish National but I don’t think he’ll run there. But he must have good ground. We ran him on heavy and got him beat, so won’t do that again.”
ROLL ALONG NEEDED EVERY YARD
Roll Along finished the Royal & SunAlliance Chase with such gusto that he went from fourth to second after the last and had the owners wishing that the race had been just a little longer. But there was a brief moment of anxiety for connections: “Down the back he stumbled and I wasn’’t sure for a minute whether he was sound, but then he settled and I was nudging away,” said jockey Timmy Murphy.
Owners Bryan and Philippa Burrough, famous for their connection with Grand National winner Corbiere were very pleased with the performance: “He made a couple of mistakes, but we’’ve always thought that he would make a three-miler and that proved it,”” he said.
“He was very well-behaved before the race, which gave his confidence. He does need a lot of gaps between his races.”” added Bryan’’s wife and co-owner Philippa Burrough, though both were left wondering what might have happended had Roll Allong started rolling along a little sooner.
A deadpan Carl Llewellyn suggested that he was disappointed: ““I was hoping we would win it and we didn’t,”” he said.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said of third-placed Battlecry: “He ran a superb race and I couldn’’t be more pleased. A bit better ground would have helped, he’’s just got a bit tired after the last.”
THE ROYAL & SUNALLIANCE CHASE
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
12 entries at final declaration stage
Royal & Sunalliance Chase Analysis
The Grade One Royal & SunAlliance Chase is the championship contest for staying novice chasers and this year’s race has attracted a healthy 78-strong entry, including 22 from Ireland and two from France.
The current market leader for the three-mile contest is the Willie Mullins-trained Glencove Marina, unbeaten in two starts over fences. The six-yearBold was 10 lengths superior to the Tom Taaffe-trained Finger Onthe Pulse in the Grade Two Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Novice Chase, over two miles and five furlongs at Leopardstown on January 13.
Mullins has won the contest twice with Florida Pearl (1998) and Rule Supreme (2004) and his five-strong entry also includes Arbor Supreme, J’y Vole, Pomme Tiepy and Scotsirish.
Joe Lively has been a revelation this term for West Country trainer Colin Tizzard - who also has the smart hat-trick seeking Leading Authority - and notched his fifth victory over fences in the Grade One Nigel Clark Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day from Here’s Johnny, trained by Victor Dartnall, and the Paul Nicholls-trained Silverburn.
Nicholls landed the last two renewals with Denman (2007) and Star De Mohaison (2006) and his seven-strong entry includes the 2006 Grade One Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Noland, Big Buck’s, Dear Villez, the once-raced and unbeaten Leading Attraction, Ornais and Nevada Royale, who was leading Joe Lively when falling at the last fence in a Grade Two contest at Newbury on December 2.
Charles Egerton has entered Hobbs Hill, unbeaten in four starts over fences and eight lengths too good for the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Battlecry in the two mile, three furlong Grade Two BGC Noel Novices’ Chase at Ascot in December.
Twiston-Davies won the race in 1993 with Young Hustler and his entry this term also includes Imperial Commander, successful twice over fences and fourth to Joe Lively in the Cheltenham Business Club Novices’ Chase in December, as well as Tramantano and Nudge And Nurdle.
The Howard Johnson-trained Tidal Bay, runner-up in the 2007 Grade One Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival, completed a hat-trick at Cheltenham on December 15, when winning the two mile, five furlong boylesports.com Fon-A-Bet Novices’ Chase from the Philip Hobbs-trained Gold Medallist and Duc De Regniere from the Nicky Henderson yard.
Johnson has also engaged No Refuge, winner of the 2005 Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival, while Nick Gifford has entered Wee Robbie, successful in the Grade Two Montpelier Group Lightning Novices’ Chase at Ascot on January 19.
Alongside Gold Medallist, Hobbs has also entered Lead On, winner of the Grade Two Utopia Group Dipper Novices’ chase at Cheltenham on January 1, as well as Mark The Book and Pancake.
The Gary Moore-trained Verasi was no match for Lead On at Exeter on December 7, but subsequently defeated Labelthou in a Grade Two at Lingfield and added an extended three-mile contest at Warwick on January 12, from the Alan King-trained Old Benny.
Barbury Castle handler King has also engaged Trigger The Light and Stoway, while David Pipe’s trio of entries are Coral Welsh National third Over The Creek, Paradi and Pauillac.
Air Force One, runner-up to Wichita Lineman in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival, has been entered by trainer Charlie Mann, having secured victory over fences at Folkestone on January 2. The trainer may also run the useful Bagan.
Jonjo O’Neill has engaged the prolific Alberta’s Run, who landed the extended three-mile Club 16-24 Novices’ chase at Cheltenham in October, while Nicky Richards could run the smart but inexperienced trio Double Default, The Whisperer and Money Trix, who returned from a 21-month absence to hose up at Newcastle on January 16.
The fantastic Irish entry includes the Edward O’Grady-trained Sky’s The Limit, winner of the 2006 Coral Cup at The Festival and successful in both the Grade One Ballymore Properties Drinmore Novices’ Chase at Fairyhouse and the Grade One Durkan New Homes Novice Chase at Leopardstown in December.
The Jim Dreaper-trained Notre Pere won the three-mile Grade One Knight Frank Ganly Walters Novice Chase at Leopardstown on December 28 ahead of Callherwhatulike (3rd), Secretofshambhala (6th), Drunken Disorderly (fell) and Dreux (pulled up).
Joseph Crowley has entered Hairy Molly, winner of the Grade One Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the 2006 Festival and yet to jump a fence in public. Charlie Swan has Drunken Disorderly, a Grade Three winner at Galway in October who has fallen in good company the last twice.
The Noel Meade-trained Cleni Boy was a high-class novice hurdler last term, who scored at the first attempt over fences at Down Royal on December 26.
The French raiding party consists of the Arnaud Chaille-Chaille-trained Okaido, who fell behind Lead On at Cheltenham on January 1, and Pommerol, successful over an extended two and a half miles at Auteuil on December 2, for trainer Francois Doumen.
ROYAL & SUNALLIANCE CHASE FACTS AND FIGURES
1. The Royal & SunAlliance Chase had a slight name change in 1998, having been run as the Royal SunAlliance Chase for the first time in 1997. But Sun Alliance, which merged with Royal Insurance in 1996, is among Cheltenham’s longest-running sponsors. The Sun Alliance Chase was run for 23 years and Sun Alliance sponsored at Cheltenham for 26 years altogether. From 1971-3, the Foxhunter Chase was titled the "Sun Alliance & London Foxhunters."
2. Sun Alliance & London was the first sponsor outside racing to
embrace commercial sponsorship at The Festival. Only the tote precedes
the insurance company. Before 1974 the race was titled the Broadway Novices’ Chase
and the Totalisator Champion Novices’ Chase.
3. Since 1960, five horses have won both the Royal & SunAlliance
Chase and totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. They are:
To this list might be added the name of Tied Cottage, winner of the
Royal & SunAlliance Chase in 1976 and the Gold Cup in 1980, before
4. The biggest field for the race has been 30, in 1986, and the smallest
eight, in 1993.
5. Fred Winter has the best record in the contest, having landed three
victories with Killiney (1973), Pengrail (1975) and Brown Chamberlin
(1982). Among current trainers Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls have
both landed the race twice, Mullins having sent out Rule Supreme (2004)
and Florida Pearl (1998) while Nicholls has trained the past two winners – Star
De Mohaison (2006) and Denman (2007).
6. Irish-trained winners number eight since 1964, the latest being Rule
Supreme in 2004.
7. The most successful jockey in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase has
been Peter Scudamore, who notched up a hat-trick from 1991 to 1993 with
Rolling Ball, Miinnehoma and Young Hustler. The latter went on to further
big-race success while Miinnehoma won the 1994 Grand National.
8. The longest-priced winners since 1964 are Hussard Collonges in 2002
and Canny Danny in 1983, both at 33/1, with Arkle the shortest-priced
at 4/9 in 1963.
9. The fastest running of the race was by Lord Noelie in 2000 at 6 mins
5.3s, beating the previous best of 6 mins 6.6s set by Miinnehoma in 1992.
10. The West Awake is the only horse to have won both the Ballymore
Properties Novices’ Hurdle (previously the Royal & SunAlliance
Novices’ Hurdle) and the Royal & SunAlliance Chase. He won
the Hurdle in 1987 and the Chase in 1988.
ROYAL & SUNALLIANCE CHASE
2007-WINNER-DENMAN 7-11-04 Owner-Maggie Findlay & Paul
Barber; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-6/5 Fav
DE MOHAISON 5-10-08 Owner-Sir Robert Ogden; Trainer-Paul
Nicholls; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-14/1
2005-WINNER-TRABOLGAN 7-11-04 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Nicky Henderson;
Jockey-Mick FitzGerald;SP- 5/1
2004-WINNER-RULE SUPREME 8-11-04 Owner-John Lynch; Trainer-Willie Mullins
IRE; Jockey-David Casey; SP-25/1
2003-WINNER-ONE KNIGHT 7-11-04 Owner-Robert Gibbs; Trainer-Philips Hobbs;
Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-15/2
2002-WINNER-HUSSARD COLLONGES 7-11-04 Owner-Nick Bannister; Trainer-Peter
Beaumont; Jockey-Russ Garritty; SP-33/1
1999-WINNER-LOOKS LIKE TROUBLE 7-11-04 Owner-Universal
Conference & Incentive
Trv Ltd; Trainer-Noel Chance; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-16/1
1998-WINNER-FLORIDA PEARL 6-11-04 Owner-Violet
Mullins IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-11/8 Fav
1997-WINNER-HANAKHAM 8-11-04 Owner-Malcolm Brereton; Trainer-Ron Hodges;
Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-13/2
ROYAL & SUNALLIANCE CHASE ROLL OF HONOUR
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