Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase
|Class 2, Cheltenham 14:50
3m 6f 37y
|Saturday 28th January 2017|
1 Urgent De Gregaine 50/1
2 Cantlow 11/8F
3 Any Currency 14/1
10 ran Distances: 3l, 21l, 2¾l
TIME 8m 9.70s (slow by 5.70s)
French challenger Urgent De Gregaine causes a huge surprise
The race was scheduled for the meeting in November but the ground was too firm to run it then so it was saved for Trials Day.
With half a mile to go it looked to be going to the script as Enda Bolger's favourite Cantlow was going well with stablemate Auvergnat travelling nicely for Rachael Blackmore.
However, she was unseated before they rejoined the racecourse proper and Cantlow looked sure to win.
Felix de Giles had nursed the 50/1 winner into contention, though and he found plenty on the run-in to beat Cantlow by three lengths with Any Currency third.
Earlier in the week trainer Emmanuel Clayeux had suggested the winner was a travelling companion for his runner in the Cotswold Chase, Vezelay, so this will come as a nice surprise.
Clayeux said: "He doesn't have a lot of options in France any more so I started putting him in cross-country races this year.
"I needed a horse to travel over with Vezelay and at the last moment I decided on this one.
"He'll now come back in March."
Sky Bet introduced the winner into the betting for the Festival race at 6/1 while pushing Cantlow out to 7/2 from 3s.
De Giles added: "Urgent De Gregaine was the companion for Vezelay. He has won a lot of races in France actually and he is one of the horses that only just does enough, so I didn't want to hit the front too soon.
"He is not a Cross-Country horse, in France he is chaser but the chases in France are a bit like these races. He has adapted well and we have profited from a light weight. The ground is testing and the distance long, so I think he has made the most of it today.
"I find that you really need a horse that stays well in Cross-Country races because they don't go very fast and it is a long trip. The ground is quite hard work today and I think if you can have a light weight, even if you lack a bit of quality, you can beat the better horses.
"I don't think he would be any better on quicker ground because he doesn't have a huge amount of speed but he stays very well. I think the handicapper will probably put him up a bit but I think he has shown us everything to warrant coming back here in March."
Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase
£25,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m 6f 37y, Class 2
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places
|Pos||Dist||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Urgent De Gregaine (FR) 50/1||Felix de Giles
|2nd||3||Cantlow (IRE) 11/8f||A P Heskin
|3rd||21||Any Currency (IRE) 14/1||R Johnson
|4th||2¾||Valadom (FR) 8/1||Jamie Bargary (3)
|5th||16||Cause Of Causes (USA) 6/1||Mr J J Codd
|6th||¾||Rocky Creek (IRE) 8/1||Jack Sherwood (3)
|P F Nicholls||11|
|7th||10||Alelchi Inois (FR) 12/1||Ms K Walsh
|W P Mullins||9|
|PU||Fago (FR) 66/1||Nick Scholfield
|PU||The Job Is Right 25/1||Jonathan Moore (3)
|UR||Auvergnat (FR) 5/1||Rachael Blackmore (5)