My Pension Expert Clarence House Chase
|Grade 1, (Ascot) Cheltenham 14:25
2m 62y, Class 1
1 Elixir De Nutz 22/1
2 Jonbon 1/4F
3 Fugitif 10/1
5 ran Distances: nk, 6½l, 3¾l
Time: 4m 14.79s (slow by 15.79s)
FREDDIE GINGELL - GRADE 1 WINNER 🙌— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) January 27, 2024
At just 17 years of age he rides Elixir Du Nutz to beat Jonbon in the My Pension Expert Clarence House 😮 pic.twitter.com/j1OPrXRR9g
Elixir De Nutz caused a significant upset in defeating Jonbon, securing jockey Freddie Gingell and trainer Joe Tizzard their first Grade One victory.
The race was anticipated to be dominated by Jonbon, especially in the absence of El Fabiolo, but the favorite struggled to find ease throughout. Jonbon exhibited slow jumps in the early stages while Elixir De Nutz set the pace, maintaining an excellent rhythm under Gingell.
Although Nicky Henderson's Jonbon eventually found his footing and appeared poised to assert dominance coming down the hill, the 1-4 favorite encountered trouble at the fourth last hurdle. James Bowen, riding Jonbon for the first time, faced a challenging moment as the horse nearly unseated him, losing all momentum.
Despite Jonbon's efforts to secure victory heading to the final fence, another poor jump opened the door for Elixir De Nutz and Gingell to capitalize on the opportunity. In a close finish, they seized the chance and won by a neck.
Henderson said: “James said he did remarkably well to get back to where he did, but he had a fair bit of ground to make up.
“He didn’t see a nice stride at the last and I think if he had winged that – he just lost the momentum that let the other horse back.
“He’s lost a battle but not the war. I only saw one mistake.
“He’s quite a busy person and lives on his wits a little bit. The extra week wasn’t exactly what he wanted, because he is a clock that you wind up. We can now unwind it and start again.
“We were really looking forward to El Fabiolo last weekend and I can’t believe that has changed anything dramatically. We’ve just got to go and let him off a little bit and start the preparations for March.”
Gingell is the son of Tizzard’s late sister, Kim, and is already in demand with champion trainer Paul Nicholls.
Tizzard, who took over the licence from his father Colin at the start of last season, hailed a “special” day in his training career.
“It’s a special day and I didn’t come here thinking I would win a Grade One, but I was happy to take our chance with a horse who has been brilliant all season,” said Tizzard.
“He bounces off this ground and drying ground all week has helped. Jonbon, what a mistake at the top of the hill, and he looked to have us beat. But we’ve probably outjumped him at the last. As long as they are all OK that’s all right, but it was our day today and it’s special.
“Freddie could have panicked (after three out) and could have gone for his stick and sent him on but he didn’t, he just saved a little bit and I will look forward to watching it back with him again.
“I wouldn’t mind being in his position, 18 years old and he has it all in front of him. Days like this don’t phase him. I’m biased but he’s done me proud and his mum would be so proud – what she has put into him has made him the man he is.”
Clarence House Chase
£105,000 guaranteed, 5yo plus, 2m 62y, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft
POS. DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 Elixir De Nutz 10 11-10 Joe Tizzard Freddie Gingell 22/1
2 nk Jonbon 8 11-10 Nicky Henderson James Bowen 1/4F
3 6½ Fugitif 9 11-10 Richard Hobson Gavin Sheehan 10/1
4 3¾ Nube Negra 10 11-10 Dan Skelton Jonjo O'Neill Jr 22/1
5 37 Editeur Du Gite 10 11-10 Gary Moore Niall Houlihan 15/2