An Accordion Squeezes Out Rivals in William Hill Trophy
1st (6) An Accordion 7-1
On Tuesday morning, one bookmaker described An Accordion as friendless in the betting market for the William Hill Trophy Handicap, but after a driving victory, at a generous 7/1, the seven-year-old gelding had friends everywhere.
For trainer David Pipe and jockey Tom Scudamore, the victory was a swift compensation for just missing out on Osana in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, when Scudamore suffered a two-day ban for his excessive use of the whip.
It was also the Scudamore’s first success at the Festival. His father Peter had 13 winners, so there is still some way to go to be the best in the family.
The jockey said: "He’s done it well and it’s a great credit to the team because he has had his problems jumping. To come out and win another big race like this, David and everyone has done such a wonderful job.
"I was just the lucky man steering him in the right direction, and David has such a great team at the moment. I always knew he would keep battling and trying and he’s done that. It’s just a tremendous thrill.
"We’ve had, touch wood, such a good day so far and long may it continue. I’m not normally delighted about finishing second but Osana has run a really tremendous race in the Champion Hurdle and I couldn’t fault him. He’s jumped from hurdle to hurdle and to be beaten by a horse like Katchit, we were probably up against it today.
"The team has done a great job to get him here fit and well and he’s just a pleasure to ride. It’s a relief to get a first Festival winner. It’s the first year in a big job and I’ve had plenty of shots at the target without hitting the bullseye
"But this is the first year I’ve come here with a handful of decent rides. I’ve come here before with one or two chances, and I suppose Heltornic was probably my best chance in this race last year. It’s so important and now things are going really well. My whole family are here and that’s very special too. It’s a wonderful place."
Pipe paid credit to both horse and jockey: "Tom had a superb ride, they kept coming at him up the hill and he kept repelling them. The horse is very fit, they have to be at this level. They are elite athletes.
"Osana ran his heart out in the last race – he was just beaten by a better horse on the day. An Accordion’s win is great for Mr Kilpatrick, he’s been a supporter at Pond House for a long, long time. He’s had a lot of good horses and this is a good horse. It’s great for the yard and everyone involved."
An Accordion’s win continued an extraordinary record for the owner Brian Kilpatrick. "I get a Cheltenham winner about every ten years and this is my fourth," he said.
Kilpatrick, who also bred An Accordion, had his first winner with Sabin du Loir in the Royal and Sun Alliance in 1983 and his most recent success came with Terao, in the Mildmay, in 1997. In between, Aquilifier won the Ritz Club Chase in 1988, which is now the William Hill Trophy.
NATIONAL NEXT FOR LAZY L’AMI
The Francois Doumen-trained L’Ami will run in the John Smith’s Grand National following his third-place finish in today’s William Hill Trophy Chase.
However, Doumen hopes Aintree’s National fences will act as a wake-up to the nine-year-old, who finished tenth behind Silver Birch last year.
Doumen said: "He’s getting a little bit lazy and Tony [McCoy] complained that he was being too cold during the race. He had to ask him to keep up, and I hope he will be keener in the National.
"The pace was a bit too slow today, and that allied to the horse being too lazy was the reason we were beaten - simple. The horse is well and that is the principle, and the whole plan is to get to the National.
"I only wish this horse had won today like his brother, Kelami, did a few years ago."
L’Ami wore cheekpieces today, and when asked if he might put blinkers on the horse at Aintree, Doumen said: "We’ll see. We have plenty of time to think about that."
Paddy Power make L’Ami a 25-1 chance (from 50-1) for the John Smith’s Grand National, while today’s fourth, Patsy Hall is 25-1 from 40-1.
Sean Murphy, who owns runner-up New Alco with Danny McGowan, was delighted with his horse, who is trained by Ferdy Murphy (no relation).
New Alco could run at Aintree, said Sean Murphy, who added: "That’s three seconds and a third for him at Cheltenham [including non-Festival races] and he was sixth in this race last year. He’s been a bit unlucky today and nearly came to a stop at one fence, but he got back into contention and Davy Russell gave him a great ride.
"Ferdy reckoned we were too close to the pace last year and burnt him out, so we held him back today. He’s only seven, but he comes up that hill and loves it."
Facts and Figures
1. The William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase was sponsored between 1981 and 1996 by the Ritz Club. Astec Buzz Shop backed the race in 1997, with William Hill taking over in 1998.
2. Five horses have used the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase as a
stepping stone to the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. These are:
3. The shortest-priced winner was Silver Fame in 1950 at 5/4. The longest-priced
scorer was Joes Edge, who belied odds of 50/1 to win last year.
4. Only two horses have won the race twice - Sentina in 1957 and 1958, and Scot Lane in 1982 and 1983. Unguided Missile, successful in 1998, had been runner-up in 1996.
WILLIAM HILL TROPHY HANDICAP CHASE - Analysis
The £90,000 William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase, one of the most
competitive races of The Festival, has attracted a strong entry of 84,
including 17 from Ireland and two from France. The last three winners
of the extended three-mile contest are also among the entries to become
just the third dual victors in the race’s history.
Shrewd Irish trainer Tony Martin, who landed the 2006 renewal with Dun
Doire, has entered five from his County Meath stable in a bid to scoop
another big handicap prize this season. Along with that nine-year-old,
he has both Newbay Prop, winner of a valuable handicap chase at Leopardstown
over the Christmas period, and William Hill Troytown Chase winner Royal
County Star entered.
His strong entry also includes the useful The Roney Man, a winner of
his only two starts in Irish point-to-points before making an impact
on the track, and Patsy Hall, winner of a good novice chase over an extended
three miles and a furlong at Cheltenham in December, 2006.
Last year’s 50/1 winner Joes Edge has been entered by Ferdy Murphy.
However, the 11-year-old hasn’t been seen since pulling up lame
in the John Smith’s Grand National following his Cheltenham success.
Stable companion’s Noir Et Vert and 2006 Kim Muir winner You’re
Special are also entered.
John Spearing’s Simon heads a strong home challenge along with
Donald McCain Jnr’s pair of Cloudy Lane and Regal Heights. David
Pipe’s Celestial Gold is likely to be at the top end of the weights
along with Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Ollie Magern and Paul Nicholls’ Mr
Gary Moore’s Verasi, who has completed a hat-trick of novice chase
wins this season, is also entered, as is Mark Bradstock’s King
Harald and Miko De Beauchene, winner of the Coral Welsh National and
Red Square Vodka Gold Cup from the stable of Robert and Sally Alner.
A strong challenge from Ireland includes Grand National third Slim Pickings,
Irish Grand National Trial winner Chelsea Harbour and Hordago, winner
of the amateur handicap chase at Cheltenham inNovember, in which The
Roney Man was fourth.
Davy Fitzgerald’s Pierse Leopardstown Handicap Chase winner Mister
Top Notch is also among the raiding team, along with Noel Meade’s
trio of Afistfullofdollars, Back To Bid and Mattock Ranger.
Francois Doumen’s pair includes 2005 winner Kelami and former
totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth L’Ami.
Other notable entries include Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Fundamentalist, who hasn’t been out of the first four in his five starts this season, David Pipe’s recent Listed chase winner An Accordion and Nick Gifford’s Wee Robbie.
WILLIAM HILL TROPHY HANDICAP CHASE – Past Results
EDGE 10-10-06 Owner-Chemipetro Limited; Trainer-Ferdy
Murphy; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-50/1
DOIRE 7-10-09 Owner-Dunderry Racing Syndicate; Trainer-Tony
Martin IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/1 2ND-Juveigneur 9-11-05 Owner-Trevor
Hemmings; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-16/1
2005-WINNER-KELAMI 7-10-02 Owner-Halewood International Ltd; Trainer-Francois
Doumen FR; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-8/1
2004-WINNER-FORK LIGHTNING 8-10-05 Owner-Fred and Sue Welch; Trainer-Alan
King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-7/1
2003-WINNER-YOULNEVERWALKALONE 9-10-11 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Christy
Roche IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-7/1
2002-WINNER-FRENCHMAN’S CREEK 8-10-05 Owner-Rory
Sweet and Panda Wilson; Trainer-Hughie Morrison; Jockey-Paul Carberry;
2001 - No Race (Foot and Mouth)
2000-WINNER-MARLBOROUGH 8-10-03 Owner-Robert Ogden; Trainer-Nicky Henderson;
Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-11/2
1999-WINNER-BETTY’S BOY 10-10-02 Owner-Ted
Benfield and Bill Brown; Trainer-Kim Bailey; Jockey-Norman Williamson;
1998-WINNER-UNGUIDED MISSILE 10-11-10 Owner-David Harrison; Trainer-Gordon
Richards; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-10/1
1997-WINNER-FLYER’S NAP 11-11-02 Owner-Jim
Tory; Trainer-Robert Alner;Jockey-David Bridgwater; SP-20/1
1996-WINNER-MAAMUR 8-10-00 Owner-Jean Wood; Trainer-Tim Forster; Jockey-Andrew
1995-WINNER-ROUGH QUEST 9-10-03 Owner-Andrew Wates; Trainer-Terry Casey;
Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-16/1
WILLIAM HILL TROPHY HANDICAP CHASE ROLL OF HONOUR
(William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase since 2005, William Hill National
Hunt Handicap Chase 1998-2004, Astec Buzz Shop National Hunt Handicap
Chase 1997, Ritz Club National Hunt Handicap Chase 1981-96, National
Hunt Handicap before 1981)
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