Betfair Ascot Chase
Grade 1, Ascot 15:35
£150,000 added,
5yo plus,
2m 5f 8y, Class 1  
Saturday 15th February 2020

1 Riders Onthe Storm 7/2
2 Janika 9/1
4 ran Distances: 14l
Time: 5m 45.57s (slow by 37.57s)

Since joining Nigel Twiston-Davies from Tom Taaffe, Riders Onthe Storm had won both his starts in Britain, but this Grade One heat represented a huge jump in class.

Cyrname was sent off the 4-11 favourite to get back on the winning trail after his King George defeat, but he looked in trouble down the back straight when the eventual winner loomed upsides.

Riders Onthe Storm soon assumed control as Cyrname started to toil, but 50-1 outsider Traffic Fluide then appeared to be finishing with real purpose.

However, Gary Moore’s charge crashed out at the last – with a tired Cyrname also taking a heavy fall further back, as the winner coasted home by 14 lengths at 7-2 under Sam Twiston-Davies, from the only other finisher Janika.

Traffic Fluide was quickly on his feet, but Cyrname was down for some time before eventually getting up – a moment which drew huge applause from the anxious Ascot crowd.

Nigel Twiston-Davies said: “I think he was probably a lucky winner in the end – but as Sam said, he went to take on Cyrname, and that probably tired the horse out a bit.

“He is quite a free-running horse, and you don’t want to give Cyrname lots of rope. Maybe it was a mistake taking him on quite so soon – but hey, we won it.

“The owner found him and bought him – and well done to him, Carl Hinchy. I love having these nice horses and I wish I could say I found it – but I didn’t.

“It was very much a jump in grade, but we were hopeful. You never think you are going to beat Cyrname, but he has had his problems since beating Altior.

“You couldn’t expect to beat Cyrname. We thought we would come a good second and win £35,000 and go home very happy – but we have won £85,000, and gone home extremely happy.

“In this really soft ground it (trip) was probably pushing him today, because he was getting tired in that ground. Better spring ground at Cheltenham, with a bit of sun on his back, I hope he will be even better.”

Sam Twiston-Davies said: “We are very lucky to have him, and he is a pleasure to have. Tom Taffe did a great job with him, and we are lucky to have him in the prime of his career.

“He is the right age; he has a lot of scope and he has really filled into himself. A lot of respect must go to Willy (Twiston-Davies) and Ryan (Hatch) at home, who were pre-training him – they said he would suit Nige’s routine quite well, because he is quite buzzy. At ours, the routine is very similar, and he seemed to fit into it really well.

“I’m delighted. The way we rode him we wanted to take Cyrname on and make it hard work for him – but in doing so, we softened ourselves up. As long as everyone gets up we will enjoy today, then look forward to Cheltenham.”

Josh Moore, rider of Traffic Fluide, said: “I was just trying to give the horse a nice clear round of jumping, and he has jumped perfectly. He came into the race lovely, where horses were getting tired.

“Unfortunately he got tired as well, and that was the first mistake he has made in his life. He put down on me, and that was the end.

“It was a tired fall, and Cyrname was in the same situation. Who knows (if I would have won) – I fell because I was tired, so maybe not.”

Paul Nicholls reported Cyrname to be “fine” on Sunday after his crashing fall at the final fence.

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Betfair Ascot Chase
£150,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 5f 8y, Class 1
4 ran
Going: Soft, Heavy in places

1      Riders Onthe Storm 7 11-7 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies 7/2
14 Janika 7 11-7 Nicky Henderson Daryl Jacob 9/1
FELL Traffic Fluide 10 11-7 Gary Moore Joshua Moore 40/1

FELL Cyrname 8 11-7 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 4/11F